World News

Iran starts partial recount of disputed vote - media

Candles spell Iran during a vigil in Vancouver, British Columbia June 25, 2009. REUTERS/Andy Clark

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A partial recount of Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election began on Monday, official media reported.

Iran’s top legislative body, the Guardian Council, was recounting a random 10 percent of the votes. Defeated opposition candidate Mirhossein Mousavi has rejected the move, saying the whole election should be annulled.

Recounting had started in Tehran’s 22 districts as well as in provinces, state television al-Alam said.

In an early indication that the process would not put into question President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election win, the official IRNA news agency said recounting so far in one Tehran district gave him more votes than in the June 12 election. It did not give details.

IRNA also said recounting had started in the western Kurdistan province. Mehr News Agency said it was also under way in the city of Karaj west of Tehran, in the presence of senior local officials.

It was not clear when the results of the recount would be released.

Official results released a day after the June 12 election showed Ahmadinejad won by a landslide, sparking days of street protests by supporters of Mousavi, who says the vote was rigged.

The 12-member Guardian Council is to give its final verdict on the election and this could happen later Monday. It has repeatedly ruled out annulling the vote, saying it has found no major irregularities.

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. State media say 20 people were killed in post-election violence.