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Early results put Rouhani ahead in Iran poll

Early results put Rouhani ahead in Iran poll

Tehran: Moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani has taken a commanding lead in Iran's presidential election based on early results, according to the country's interior minister.

Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator, has received more than 46 percent of 861,866 votes counted by 6:00am local time (01:30 GMT), some seven hours after polls closed in Tehran on Friday.

The partial figures were released by Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, who told state television on Saturday that his electoral staff would not "compromise accuracy for speed".

On those figures, Rouhani is followed by Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf with 126,896 votes.

In third place was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, with 119,294 votes, followed closely by Mohsen Rezaei, a former head of the elite Revolutionary Guard, with 109,089 votes.

Trailing the field were former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati with 55,990 votes, and little-known former minister Mohammad Gharazi with 13,431 votes.

Polling stations stayed open for up to five hours later than planned as millions of Iranians turned out to cast their votes.

An announcement of initial results by the Interior Ministry, scheduled for around 1:30am local time, was then postponed by several hours.

Authorities had earlier estimated a turnout of over 70 percent. If accurate, the votes counted so far would represent less than 2.5 percent of total votes cast.

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