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Friday, June 14, 2013

Latest Updates on Election Day in Iran

The Lede is following developments in Iran on Friday, where voters went to the polls in the first presidential election since the disputed contest in 2009. Our colleague Thomas Erdbrink â€" who is posting updates from Tehran on Twitter @ThomasErdbrink â€" is one of a handful of foreign correspondents reporting from inside the country, but glimpses of election day can be gleaned from official media sources and expatriate Iranian journalists with sources inside the country.

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11:13 A.M. Polling Time Extended in Iran, as Usual
Iran’s state-run Press TV reported on Friday that polling places would be kept open late.

In a development that Iran’s state-run satellite channel Press TV describes as dramatic breaking news, but my colleague Thomas Erdbrink calls routine, voting hours have been extended in Iran.

The state broadcaster claims that the extension was due to heavy turnout at polling places, but, as Thomas reports, the Islamic Republic’s unelected supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was among the first to cast is ballot, seems determined to combat the perception that there is a lack of enthusiasm among voters after the disappointment that drove many to the streets four years ago when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner despite widespread allegations of fraud.

In televised remarks to reporters after casting his ballot, Iran’s ruling cleric said: “The enemies have made strenuous attempts to prevent people from coming to the polling stations through creating disappointment and pessimism.” He also scoffed at what he said doubts about the fairness of the vote from an unnamed official of the National Security Council in the United States, saying: “To hell with you if you do not believe in our election. If the Iranian nation had to wait for you to see what you believe in and what you do not, then the Iranian nation would have lagged behind.”

Video of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, voting and speaking to reporters in Tehran on Friday.

The leader’s Twitter feed echoed his remarks.

Robert Mackey also remixes the news on Twitter @robertmackey.