Ahmadinejad, Chief Rival Both Claim Victory

Voting runs extra 3 hours to accommodate volume
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 12, 2009 1:00 PM CDT
Iran's former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, casts his ballot for the presidential elections in Tehran today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Both leading candidates for Iran’s presidency are trumpeting victory after Iranians swarmed the polls, forcing them to remain open an extra 3 hours, Reuters reports. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad each claimed some 60% of the vote. Meanwhile, President Obama applauded the election, which he said heralded “robust debate” and a “possibility of change” in Iran, the AP reports. “You’re seeing people looking at new possibilities.”

“Whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact that there’s been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways,” Obama said. Turnout was expected to reach about 70%.