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Long lines as Iranians take part in presidential vote

Friday - 6/14/2013, 2:00pm  ET

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iranian voters have been choosing today from among five hard-line presidential candidates and the one moderate around whom reformers have rallied.

There were long lines outside some voting stations in Tehran and elsewhere, and Iranian officials extended the voting time by four hours.

There's been no clear front-runner among the six candidates. They are trying to succeed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (ah-muh-DEE'-neh-zhahd), who has served for eight years but isn't allowed to run for a third consecutive term. If no candidate wins a majority, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers in a week.

The enthusiasm shown by voters today suggested that an election that had once been seen as a pre-engineered victory for Iran's ruling establishment had become a chance for reform-minded voters to express themselves.

Iran's loose coalition of liberals, reformists and opposition activists are backing former nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani, the only relative moderate left in the race.

One university student voting in Tehran said that both he and his mother had voted for Rowhani. A journalist in a Persian Gulf city said many polling stations had long lines, with many voters appearing to back Rowhani.

But there was also strong support for other presumed leading candidates. A taxi driver in Tehran who voted for one hardliner said, "We should resist the West."

%@AP Links

156-a-16-(Meir Javedanfar (may-EER' jah-ved-AHN'-far), Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst, in AP interview)-"its nuclear program"-Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Middle East analyst in Jerusalem, says Israelis should root for either of two candidates and if the moderate in the field is not a winner, a candidate who is unloved by Iran's military would be a second choice. (14 Jun 2013)

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