Ahmadinejad thanks voters for re-election

June 13, 2009 at 7:22 PM
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TEHRAN, June 13 (UPI) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on television Saturday to thank voters for his re-election as opposition supporters rioted in Tehran.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi held large demonstrations, CNN reported. After dark, there were street battles in Tehran that appeared to involve Mousavi supporters on one side and backers of the president on the other.

Protesters also battled riot police.

The incumbent called his seeming landslide a "great victory" and said the vote illustrated voters' desire for justice, an end to corruption and respect for Iran, CNN said.

"The people of Iran inspired hope for all nations and created a source of pride in the nation and disappointed all the ill wishers," Ahmadinejad said. "This election was held at a juncture of history."

Ahmadinejad won 62.6 percent of the vote to Mousavi's 33.7 percent, the Interior Ministry said.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the 85-percent turnout and appealed for calm.

At a news conference late Friday as the first election returns were released, Mousavi urged Khamenei to reject the results. He released a letter Saturday as the count continued asking for a halt.

"The results announced for the 10th presidential elections are astonishing. People who stood in long lines and knew well who they voted for were utterly surprised by the magicians working at the television and radio broadcasting," he said.

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