Protesters Cry, 'It's Not Possible'

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A supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi walks past a burning police motorcyle during a protest in Tehran on June 13.

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Another young man, who said he was an observer at a polling station in Tehran's Region 7, said out of about 1,500 votes there, 988 were for Moussavi, 391 for Ahmadinejad, and the rest for the remaining two candidates. "I have no doubt they've reversed the vote count. They have given Mousavi's vote to the sitting president and vice versa," he said.

A group of young men said they had talked to their families in the provinces, including Kurdish Kermanshah, Azeri Oroumiyeh and Ardeblil. Mohsen, 23, said, "Everyone in Tabriz voted for Mousavi. The official count says a majority for Ahmadinejad. That's not possible." Mehdi, 27, chimed in, "Even if just Karroubi's family in Lorestan had voted for him, he would have won more than 300,000 votes."

More serious allegations came from officials involved in the various reformist candidates' campaigns. Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, part of opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi's campaign, pointed out that the government "announced a wholesale figure of 70% for Ahmadinejad last night, as opposed to breaking it down province by province as they usually do." The first figures were announced shortly after voting closed, he added. A breakdown of how people in each city and province voted has not been released yet.

At the Mousavi headquarters, former Interior Minister Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour protested that Mousavi observers had not gained access to many of the polling centers. He also said that in Tabriz, Mousavi's birthplace, many of the polling stations had run out of ballots only two hours after opening, even though about 59 million ballots had been printed by the government, about 13 million more than the number of eligible voters.

Mohtashamipour and others also complain that communications on voting day were hampered. Text messaging, a main means of communication among supporters of the challengers, and several Internet sites, were blocked.

Mousavi and Karroubi have both released statements condemning the results. Mousavi had planned to give a press conference, but his wife Zahra Rahnavard said he has been ordered to stay in his house. "The actions of these untrustworthy people in charge are nothing but a destabilization of the dignity of the sacredness of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the sovereignty of lies and despotism," Mousavi wrote on his website. Karroubi said he would not remain silent in the face of this "amateur engineering of the votes."

Faced with questions about vote tampering, Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsouli denied the vote rigging allegations and said the election was clean and fair. As the Minister praised the "brilliant results," more protestors gathered outside the Interior Ministry building

Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, released a statement through state television in which he congratulated Iranians for having proven their "great worth," and warned people to be aware that the "enemy" planned street chaos.

With reporting by Joe Klein / Tehran

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