His supporters have likened his victory to a tsunami. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ultra-conservative mayor of Tehran, has won Iran’s presidential election. According to official results, he took more than 61 percent of the vote on a turnout of 56 percent. The outcome is a bitter disappointment for his rival, the moderate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who was the favourite during the campaign. A spokesman for Rafsanjani says he has accepted defeat, but his camp has complained about alleged vote-buying and intimidation. The authorities deny any bias in favour of Ahmadinejad. The United States was quick to react, saying Iran was now even more out of step with trends towards democratisation in the region. Brussels will no doubt be concerned too: Ahmadinejad’s hard line on Iran’s nuclear programme could make it more difficult to cut a deal and to assuage fears that Tehran is trying to develop atomic weapons.
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