Mir Hossein Musavi, Iran's former prime minister who is close to the reformist camp, has gained the majority of votes in a symbolic election that was held earlier this week at Tehran University.
Musavi obtained 72 percent of the vote. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who is seeking reelection, obtained only 17.6 percent of the votes. Meanwhile, the moderate Mehdi Karrubi received only 6.9 percent of the vote. Of the voters, 3.1 percent cast unmarked ballots.
According to the results, emailed to RFE/RL, 5,167 students from the university's various faculties took part.
The results are not surprising; Ahmadinejad is not particularly popular in Iran's universities. Over the past four years, the authorities have ramped up pressure on universities and student activists critical of the government and calling for more rights.
In the June 12 presidential election, Musavi is likely to be Ahmadinejad's main challenger
. While close to the reformists, Musavi says he's loyal to the fundamentals of the Islamic Revolution and some key reformist figures have put their weight behind him, including Iran's former President Mohammad Khatami.
Ahmadinejad seems to have the backing of Iran's supreme leader who on May 12 said that Iranians should vote for "those who have popular support and who live in a simple and modest way" and "are pained by the pain of other people."
The comments seem to be another sign of Khamenei's support for Ahmadinejad.
-- Golnaz Esfandiari