Both major candidates claim victory in Iran

The country's official media says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reelected, but a rival says he won

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 12, 2009 8:01PM (EDT)

Not necessarily a great sign: The two main candidates for president of Iran, incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the more moderate Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, are both claiming victory.

According to the Associated Press, state-run media is reporting that Ahmadinejad came out the winner. But at a press conference, Mousavi says he won. Both announcements were made before polls actually closed, and neither, apparently, included any detail on how the prediction was reached.

It's probably worth noting that allies of Ahmadinejad had, before the vote, been preparing for a declaration of victory by Mousavi, saying he might make the announcement prematurely so that his supporters would be incensed when and if the final results showed Ahmadinejad in the lead and would launch a campaign like the one Ukraine experienced in its Orange Revolution.

The actual results still might not be known for a while, possibly until Saturday.

Further complicating matters, former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman is also claiming victory.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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