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Iran Council confirms Ahmadinejad election victory

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s top legislative body confirmed on Monday that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won re-election in a disputed June 12 vote, saying it had dismissed complaints of irregularities by his pro-reform opponents.

The announcement by the Guardian Council came after it carried out a partial recount of votes cast in the election.

Ahmadinejad’s main moderate challenger, former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, says the vote was rigged in favor of the hardline incumbent and he has repeatedly called for the whole election to be annulled.

He did not send representatives to Monday’s recount, his website said.

Official results released a day after the election showed Ahmadinejad won by a landslide, sparking days of street protests by supporters of Mousavi. State media say about 20 people were killed in post-election violence.

The Guardian Council had earlier made clear it would not annul the election, describing it last week as the healthiest in Iran since the Islamic revolution three decades ago.

“The secretary of the Guardian Council, in a letter to the interior minister, announced the final decision of the Council ... and declares the approval of the accuracy of the results of ... the presidential election,” state broadcaster IRIB said.

Iran’s English-language Press TV television station said the recount of a random 10 percent of the votes, carried out on Monday, had shown no irregularities.

“The Guardian Council approval of the vote negates the possibility of an election re-run,” Press TV said on its website.

The disputed poll and its turbulent aftermath have exposed splits in Iran’s political establishment and plunged the country into its deepest crisis since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mousavi and two other defeated presidential candidates had submitted a total of 646 complaints about the election.

But the Guardian Council said most of the complaints were not considered as election irregularities and that it had dismissed them after conducting “precise and thorough studies” of the election process.

The council is a 12-man body, six senior clerics appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and six Islamic jurists, which must ensure all laws agree with Islamic Sharia law and Iran’s constitution.

It also vets aspiring candidates for presidential elections.

Editing by Richard Meares