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Parliamentary elections end in Iran after deadline extended

By Xinhua

Tehran : Polls in Iran’s parliamentary elections closed on Friday night after deadline was extended to let more people participate in the voting, Iran’s state radio reported.

Polling stations closed at 11 p.m. (1930 GMT), five hours after the scheduled closing time of 6 p.m., state radio said. The stations opened at 8 a.m. (0430 GMT) on Friday.

Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said Friday night that results of the eighth parliamentary elections will be announced as a whole, and not gradually like they used to be during previous rounds.

Earlier in the day, he told the state-run English-language Press TV channel that the results of the parliamentary elections will be announced in three to four days.

According to Iranian Interior Ministry figures, about 4,500 candidates have been cleared to compete for the 290-seat legislature.

Over 45,000 polling stations were set up in 207 constituencies for people to elect representatives to the parliament, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The United States on Friday voiced its strong skepticism about the fairness of Iran’s parliamentary elections, claiming any outcome of the vote is “cooked.”

“In essence the results are cooked,” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday of the poll. “They are cookedin the sense that the Iranian people were not able to vote for a full range of people.”

Over the past weeks, Iranian leaders have called for a high turnout in the elections to show Western countries that the Islamic Republic is unified at a time of mounting tensions over its disputed nuclear program.