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Polls close in Iran elections

TEHRAN, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Voting ended Friday evening in Iran's controversial general election, with the outcome generally expected to be a victory for conservatives.

Reformists were not optimistic about the outcome as some 2,500 pro-reform candidates were disqualified, the BBC reported Friday.

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The United States has criticized the elections as neither free nor fair.

Some of the reformists' supporters openly called on people to boycott the election, saying their mere participation was a vote of support for the Islamic system.

Iran's conservative supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged voters to go to the polls, saying Iran's "enemies" wanted a boycott.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardians Council, said those calling for a boycott were "traitors to Islam and their country".

He told worshippers in a Friday prayer sermon that each ballot cast would be akin to "firing a bullet into the heart of [George] Bush".

The final results are not expected to be announced for up to a week.

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