Early results in Iran presidential election give reformist-backed Rowhani wide lead

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Associated Press

Posted on June 15, 2013 at 1:04 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's reformist-backed presidential candidate has surged to a wide lead in early vote counting.

The head of the interior ministry's election department says Hasan Rowhani had nearly 46 percent of the vote with more than 1.8 million votes tallied. Rowhani's net closest competitor had less than 18 percent.

Still, 46 percent would not be enough for Rowhani to win the presidency outright and avoid a two-person runoff next Friday.

Rowhani is the only cleric among the six candidates and served for a time as the country's nuclear negotiator. He quit that post shortly after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd) was elected in 2005, after quarrelsome meetings with the new president. That move cemented Rowhani's reputation as a moderate who rejected Ahmadinejad's combative approach in world affairs.

With 50 million eligible voters and a strong turnout — one hardline newspaper estimated it at 75 percent — it's unclear when a final count will be known.

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APPHOTO CARS103: A woman places her ballot in a box as Iranians outside their country of origin cast ballots in Iran's presidential election, in a hotel meeting room in Los Angeles Friday, June 14, 2013. Iranian-Americans and expatriates cast ballots Friday in polling places across the United States, joining their countrymen half a world away in selecting the next Iranian president (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) (14 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO CARS103 (06/14/13)££

APPHOTO CAI134: Iranian women line up to vote in the presidential and municipal council elections at a polling station in Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. Iran's supreme leader delivered a salty rebuke to the U.S. Friday as Iranians lined up to vote in a presidential election that has suddenly become a showdown across the Islamic Republic's political divide: hard-liners looking to cement their control and re-energized reformists backing the lone moderate. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) (14 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO CAI134 (06/14/13)££

APPHOTO CAI126: An Iranian woman casts her vote in the presidential and municipal councils elections at a polling station in Qom, 78 miles (125 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. Iran's supreme leader delivered a salty rebuke to the U.S. Friday as Iranians lined up to vote in a presidential election that has suddenly become a showdown across the Islamic Republic's political divide: hard-liners looking to cement their control and re-energized reformists backing the lone moderate. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi) (14 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO CAI126 (06/14/13)££

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