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Voting Time Extended In Iranian Elections

Campaign posters in the holy city of Qom (Fars) December 15, 2006 -- Voting has been extended again in Iran's Assembly of Experts and local council elections by another hour.

Polling stations are now due to close at 9 p.m. local time (1730 UTC).

The vote for city and rural councils and the Assembly of Experts will show if the president's rivals are regaining popularity, even if the results have no direct impact on policy.

The two elections come at a time when Tehran is facing growing international pressure over its controversial nuclear program. Authorities have said a high turnout will prove popular support for the ruling government.

Iranian parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has said each vote cast by the Iranian nation is a 'no' to the United States.

Earlier today, an election official, Abbasali Kadkhodayi, expressed hope that election results will be released by late on December 16 or 17.

Reformists have expressed concern over possible election fraud.

(Fars, ILNA, IRNA)

RFE/RL Iran Report

RFE/RL Iran Report

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