Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's incumbent president, has taken a
commanding lead in his bid for re-election with more than two-thirds
of ballot boxes counted, Iran's interior ministry has said.
With 80 per cent of the ballots counted on Saturday, the election
commission put Ahmadinejad ahead with 63.8 per cent of the vote
against 32.7 per cent for Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main rival.
"Doctor Ahmadinejad, by getting a majority of the votes, has become
the definite winner of the 10th presidential election," the official
IRNA news agency reported.
Al Jazeera's Teymoor Nabili, reporting from Tehran, said: "The state
media have declared victory for Ahmadinejad and he not only won, he
blew Mousavi away."
After the declaration, the president's supporters took to the
streets of Tehran, waving Iranian flags and honking car horns.
"Where are the greens? In a mousehole," some of them said, referring
to the campaign colours of Mousavi, whose supporters held mass
rallies in recent weeks.
Mousavi had claimed victory just moments after polls closed on
"In line with the information we have received, I am the winner of
this election by a substantial margin," he said. "We expect to
celebrate with people soon."
But with the majority of votes counted according to Kamran Daneshjoo,
chairman of the electoral commission at the interior ministry, the
incumbent president had taken a seemingly unassailable lead.
The two other candidates up for election - Mohsen Rezai, a former
commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and Mehdi Karroubi, an
ex-parliament speaker - were set to finish a distant third and
Mousavi alleged there had been irregularities in the voting,
including a shortage of ballot papers.
He also accused the authorities of blocking text messaging, which
his campaign has used to reach young voters.
Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Iran, told Al Jazeera:
"There has been fraud alleged by the losing candidates in other
Iranian elections and there has been good evidence produced that
[it] actually happened.
"So one can't rule it out in this case. What is more important in
the early stages is people's perceptions. If people perceive they
were robbed, that will stir up political passion in what is still a
Al Jazeera's Alireza Ronaghi, reporting from Tehran, said the
blocking of text messages had been announced by the ministry of
"We haven't heard what the reason for this is, but we know that
Ahmadinejad's campaigners and supporters have accused the reformists
of trying to plot riots and acts of unrest after the election," he
"We have also heard that some of the newspapers have been given
notices to change their editorials or their main headlines."
Scuffles broke out between police and chanting Mousavi supporters in
a Tehran square early on Saturday, witnesses said. Police said they
have increased security across the capital to prevent any trouble.