Ahmadinejad takes lead in Iran
IRANIAN presidential candidate Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to win the election despite his competitor already claiming victory, the election chief says.

Dr Ahmadinejad has taken a strong lead in his bid to be re-elected as Iran's president, chalking up 67 per cent of the vote with nearly half the ballot boxes counted, said Kamran Daneshjoo, chairman of the electoral commission at the interior ministry.

But reformist former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi has already claimed a landslide win despite conflicting reports.

"In line with the information we have received, I am the winner of this election by a substantial margin," Mr Mousavi told a news conference.

With 47 per cent of total boxes counted, amounting to over 15.2 million votes, Dr Ahmadinejad received over 10.2 million votes, or 67 per cent of the total.

That compared with 4.6 million, or 30.3 per cent for Mr Mousavi, the electoral commission said.

Mr Daneshjoo did not indicate where the votes were from, saying only that the counting was from polling places across the country.

Separately, a former senior member of the National Security Council, Agha Mohammadi, said Dr Ahmadinejad was likely to end the day with a narrow victory, avoiding the need for a runoff.

"According to the information we have the voter participation will be 70 per cent overall and Ahmadinejad will have a little more than 50 per cent of the total vote," Mr Mohammadi said.

The president is leading in the countryside, which accounts for 33 per cent of voters, and in small and medium-sized cities (34 per cent).

"In big cities and in Tehran, in some parts Mousavi is leading and in some parts Ahmadinejad."
Posted by: Oztralian 2009-06-12