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Simpson: Iran vote 'not pointless'

The people of Iran are going to the polls to vote for a new parliament in the first elections since 2009, when the country erupted in violence.

World Affairs editor John Simpson told the Today programme's John Humphrys that the opposition "green" movement is not prepared to take part in the elections, although a moderate political agenda does have support.

He said the Iranian government is "desperate to make it look as thought they have the support of the people" but, like the elections in 2009, the number of voters is likely to be "massaged".

The elections are not pointless, he said, as "there is something really strong going on in Iran", but there is unlikely to be a change at the top of Iranian politics.

"There's a battle going on" he said "and the man who most people see as a crazy eccentric, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is actually the moderate because he wants to keep on reasonable terms with western countries".

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