Iran election update: “extraordinary” turnout
Turnout is “extraordinarily high” in Iran, Robert Worth is reporting for the New York Times: Polls were originally due to close at 6 p.m. (9:30 a.m. in New York), but voting was extended for at least two hours due to the strong turnout. Initial results are not expected until 12 hours after the polls close. ...
Turnout is "extraordinarily high" in Iran, Robert Worth is reporting for the New York Times:
Turnout is “extraordinarily high” in Iran, Robert Worth is reporting for the New York Times:
Polls were originally due to close at 6 p.m. (9:30 a.m. in New York), but voting was extended for at least two hours due to the strong turnout. Initial results are not expected until 12 hours after the polls close.
According to Iran’s interior minister, more than 70 percent of eligible Iranians may have voted. “The reports received from all over the country show that people’s presence at the polling stations has been high-spirited and indescribable,” he said. (More on the turnout story here.)
The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also voted Friday morning. He seemed only vaguely up to speed on the election fever sweeping the country in recent days. “I am hearing about a vast participation of people, and I hear there are even gatherings at night,” Khamenei said. “This shows the people’s awareness.”
Here’s Khamenei casting his ballot:
And here’s incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad showing a purple finger:
And finally, the challenger, Mir Hossain Mousavi, with his wife, who has been a huge player in the campaign:
The Mousavi camp is already complaining of irregularities, including a shutdown of text messaging. “Presently they have prevented some of our representatives from being present at polling stations and they do not let us monitor (the vote),” Mousavi was cited as saying. “We expect that officials would solve this problem as soon as possible.”
We’ll keep you posted.
UPDATE: Reformist former PM Mohammad Khatami is already declaring victory for Mousavi:
All indications suggest that Mousavi has won,” he told reporters.
2:54 PM ET: Now both sides are predicting victory:
Sadegh Kharazi, a senior backer of former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, said surveys made by reformers showed that Mousavi was getting about 58-60 percent of the votes.
But an Ahmadinejad representative, Ali Asghar Zarei, said the incumbent was ahead with about the same level of support, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.
Photos: AFP/Getty Images
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
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