Iran election fight over, vote valid

 Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad celebrated on Tuesday after Iran’s highest electoral authority proclaimed the validity of its disputed election, paving the way for the incumbent to begin a second term despite claims of fraud.

Pro-Ahmadinejad newspapers announced the Guardian Council’s approval in large type on their front pages. Newspapers backing his main reformist challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, mentioned the news in small references.

Mousavi has said Ahmadinejad stole re-election through fraud and demanded a new election. Western analysts have described Ahmadinejad’s roughly 2-1 margin of victory as suspicious and improbable.

The decision ruling out the possibility of a new vote was expected after the country’s supreme leader endorsed the vote. The government had delayed a formal declaration as Mousavi supporters flooded the streets in protests that were put down through a show of force by riot police.

“From today on, the file on the election has been closed,” the Guardian Council said.

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