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June 12, 2009

Iran's Presidential Election

Iranians went to the voting booth today, Friday, June 12th, for their 10th presidential election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Their decision today is largely whether to keep hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power for four more years, or to replace him with a reformist more open to loosening the country's Islamic restrictions and improving ties with the United States. Ahmadinejad's leading opponent is Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former Prime Minister of Iran. Mousavi's campaign was propelled in recent weeks by young voters using high-tech campaign tactics (over 66% of Iranians are under the age of 30). Iran's presidential elections are tightly controlled, and, once elected, the office holder has limited power, but it remains the highest position determined by popular vote. Collected here are several photos from the past few weeks in Iran. (35 photos total)

A supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad displays her hand painted with the Iranian flag, also used as a sign for his party, at his final election campaign rally, on Azadi street in western Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Supporters of main challenger and reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi shout amidst a festive atmosphere at an election rally at the Heidarnia stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #

Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, presidential candidate for Iran, gather during a campaign rally at Haydarniya Stadium on June 9, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Majid/Getty Images) #

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former prime minister and presidential candidate, gestures to the crowd during his election rally in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, June 8, 2009. (Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg News) #

A supporter of the leading reformist Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, holds his poster, during a street rally in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #

A supporter of Iranian Presidential candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shows a campaign sign to supporters of Ahmadinejad's rival, Mirhossein Mousavi, during the final night of campaigning on the streets of north Tehran June 10, 2009 before elections on Friday. (REUTERS/Caren Firouz) #

A man decorated with pictures of Iranian President and candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends Ahmadinejad's address to supporters in front of the Sharif University in Tehran in this June 10, 2009 photo. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A wheelchair-bound supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is lifted above the crowd at his final election campaign rally, on Azadi street in western Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and presidential candidate gestures as he addresses supporters during a rally in Tehran June 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah) #

A supporter of current president and candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves a flag with a religious sign while he holds the president's poster during the final rally on Azadi street in front of the Sharif university mosque in west Tehran, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) #

A cleric is seen in front of the national flag as he listens to Iranian President and candidate for the upcoming presidential election Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing supporters in front of the Sharif University in Tehran June 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A supporter of Iran's former Parliament speaker and presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi holds his poster during a campaign rally in Tehran June 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl) #

A supporter of Iran's former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi, a candidate in the presidential elections, holds a banner during a gathering near Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) monument on the last day of campaigning June 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

Supporters of the leading reformist Iranian presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, attend an electoral campaign gathering in downtown Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #

A supporter of candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi holds up a painted hand during a campaign rally at Haydarniya Stadium on June 9, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Majid/Getty Images) #

Supporters of former Mir Hossein Mousavi wear the green colors of the campaign as they attend a pre-election gathering at a stadium in Tehran June 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

An Iranian woman holds her ballot at a mosque transformed into a polling station in Tehran on June 12, 2009. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) #

An woman arrives at a polling station during the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah) #

Iranian presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi listens to a question during a news conference in Tehran June 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi) #

A young supporter of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi holds a campaign poster at a campaign rally on June 9, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Majid/Getty Images) #

Backers of former Prime Minister Mirhossein Mousavi hold up his photograph and show victory signs during a pre-election gathering at a stadium in Tehran on June 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files) #

A supporter of presidential candidate, Mahdi Karroubi, chants slogans, with stickers on her face and head scarf reading "change for Iran" at a campaign gathering in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. Karroubi, a challenger to the hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a former parliament speaker and the only cleric in the June 12 election race. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #

Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi gather near Tehran's Azadi monument on the last day of campaigning June 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

A woman raises her arms while she attends a campaign rally for Mir Hossein Mousavi at Haydarniya Stadium on June 9, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. (Majid/Getty Images) #

Iranian presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei gestures as his inked finger is seen after voting in Tehran, Iran on Friday June, 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Iranian Students News Agency, Arash Khamushi) #

An Iranian cleric combs his beard as he waits with others to vote at the shrine of Hazrat-e Massoumeh, granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad in the city of Qom, 120 km (75 miles) south of Tehran, June 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) #

Supporters of Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi pause while distributing his posters on June 10, 2009 in Khoramabad, Iran. (Majid/Getty Images) #

A backer of Iran's president and presidential candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an election campaign rally in Tehran June 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah) #

A supporter of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi forms a heart shape with her hands, while wearing green ribbons - the color of the party, amidst a festive atmosphere at an election rally rally in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #

An Iranian women recites the holy Quran as she stands in line to cast her vote at the Masoumeh shrine in Qom, Iran on Friday, June 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) #

Iranian men stand in line at a mosque as they wait to vote in the presidential elections in Tehran, Iran, on Friday, June 12, 2009. (Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg News) #

A woman casts her vote to elect the new president of Iran in a mosque transformed into a polling station in Tehran on June 12, 2009. (OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman shows the ink on her finger after casting her ballot for the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009. (REUTERS/Caren Firouz) #

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009. The post of Supreme Leader is Iran's highest ranking political and religious authority - higher than the office of the president - and is elected by Iran's 86-member Islamic "Assembly of Experts", not by popular vote. (REUTERS/Caren Firouz) #

Supporters of main challenger and reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi flash the victory sign and hold flowers above their heads amidst a festive atmosphere at an election rally at the Heidarnia stadium in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, June 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) #

 
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