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The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran
"Throughout the day people beseiged the polling stations"
 real 56k

Dilip Hiro, author: 'Iran Under the Ayatollahs'
"On the whole Iran is much more open"
 real 56k

The BBC's Sadeq Saba
"This election was never about who was going to win it"
 real 28k

Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Khatami triumphs over conservatives
Women voters
Women turned out to vote in large numbers
Reports from Iran say that the country's presidential election has been won by the incumbent, Mohammad Khatami, with a sweeping 77% of the votes cast.

That would give the reformist leader an even wider margin than in his 1997 landslide victory.

Election facts
Voting for president, 17 parliament seats and two members of the Assembly of Experts

42 million eligible voters

37,000 voting stations

Voting age: 15
Acknowledging the result, Mr Khatami said this was a victory for "democracy and freedom".

His supporters wanted a massive landslide to strengthen Mr Khatami's hand against the hardliners who have been blocking his social and political reforms.

Reports say two of the nine rival candidates have admitted defeat and congratulated Mr Khatami on his success.

Polling booths stayed open for up to five hours longer than planned on Friday to allow long queues of electors to register their votes.

People were still being turned away when voting stations closed.

Ex-pat vote

In Washington, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the high turnout demonstrated a longing for change.

"The turnout in large numbers seems to indicate that there's a great desire for freedom, for openness, for the rule of law, for better lives for the Iranian people and their children," he said.

Ahmad Tavakoli
Ahmad Tavakoli is in second place
"It's our hope that those voices will be heard and that the wishes of the voters be respected."

Some of the earliest returns were from Iranian expatriates, who overwhelmingly backed Mr Khatami.

Most of the other nine candidates are moderate conservatives - one of them, Ahmed Tavakoli, has been taking around 15% of the vote. All the others are far behind.

Votes for reform

Correspondents say that if Mr Khatami gets more than the 20 million votes he received in the last elections, he will be in a stronger position to implement his reform programme.

This faces opposition from hardliners, including Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who controls the armed forces, appoints the judiciary chief and the head of the state broadcasting monopoly.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Teheran says Mr Khatami will be able to argue that this time, because there was no major hardline candidate running against him, the votes he received are votes for reform, not simply anti-establishment.

Mr Khatami has campaigned for greater freedom and democracy - the same slogans he used in the 1997 election in which he was swept to power.

His opponents have mainly focused on the state of the economy.

Our correspondent says some disputes have broken out over alleged voting irregularities but Mr Khatami's aides are hoping that his margin of victory is so great that nobody will seriously dispute the result.

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See also:

09 Jun 01 | Media reports
Iranian press assesses presidential poll
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
In pictures: Iran goes to the polls
01 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iran election: People and policies
08 Jun 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Iran's political prisoners
09 Jun 01 | Middle East
Re-election could spark more crises
04 May 01 | Middle East
Guide: How Iran votes
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