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Second-Round Voting Begins In Iran

Voting in Iran during the 17 June first round (file photo) 24 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Polls have opened in Iran in the first presidential runoff to be held since the republic's Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Expediency Council Chairman and former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani is facing off against the hard-line mayor of Tehran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

The two were the top vote-getters in the first round of voting on 17 June.

The 70-year-old Hashemi-Rafsanjani -- who was president once already from 1989 to 1997 -- has vowed to extend the reforms of outgoing President Mohammad Khatami and ease tensions with the West.

Ahmadinejad has promised to share Iran's oil wealth more fairly.

Analysts say Hashemi-Rafsanjani draws his support from the more liberal upper and middle classes, while Ahmadinejad is favored by working-class voters.

The race is considered too close to call.


[For background, analysis, and an archive of RFE/RL coverage of Iran's ninth-ever presidential election, see our dedicated "Iran Votes 2005" website.]