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Iranian Leader Calls For National Unity After Election


Ayatollah Khamenei (file photo) 25 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today called on Iranians to put aside their differences after the country's closely fought presidential election.

Final results show hard-line Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadinejad won nearly 62 percent of votes in the runoff election yesterday. His challenger, former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative, won 35.9 percent.

In his first comments since the poll, Khamenei -- who wields ultimate power in Iran -- also urged Rafsanjani to remain in politics.

Rafsanjani himself has made no public comments since yesterday's election.

In comments broadcast over state radio today, Ahmadinejad said his aim is to make Iran an Islamic model for the world.

"Today, God willing, is the start of a new era in the political life of this country," he said. "The enthusiastic and intelligent participation of the people in the first-round ballot and today in the second-round vote, God willing, will be the start of a new movement that will lead this nation to the peak of development and progress."

The election results have still to be validated by the country's ultimate authority, the Guardians Council.

(compiled from agency reports)

For RFE/RL's full coverage of Iran's elections, see "Iran Votes 2005"
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