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Hard-Liner Heading To Win In Iran's Presidential Race

Mahmud Ahmadinejad (file photo) Tehran, 25 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The hard-line mayor of Tehran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, appears headed to victory in yesterday's presidential runoff.

According to Interior Ministry figures and with nearly all the ballots counted, Ahmadinejad won nearly 62 percent of the vote. The moderate cleric Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani had about 35 percent of the vote.

These figures are still preliminary. Official results are due later today. The Guardians Council must approve the election results.

Iranian authorities extended voting by three hours in response to a high voter turnout although it is unclear how many Iranians voted.

Correspondents say Ahmadinejad -- who has promised to share Iran's oil wealth more fairly -- did well in poorer provinces.

Reformers fear he will take Iran back to the restrictions of the Islamic Revolution.

See also:

Hashemi-Rafsanjani Says Vote For Him Is Vote Against Extremism

A New Generation And The Drift To The Right

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

(AFP/Reuters/AP/Radio Farda)