Saturday, June 25, 2005

Chalk up another one for Bush

No matter how much he wants to bitch about it, the message in the Iranian elections was clear -- Bush hasn't lost his magic touch.

But Ahmadinejad's landslide win over Rafsanjani, who was largely seen as the front-runner, marked a remarkable comeback.

Ahmadinejad had not been expected to even make it into the runoff, but he managed to pull off a surprising second-place finish in last week's balloting, putting him into the showdown with Rafsanjani.

Polls closed in the presidential runoff about 11:30 p.m. Friday (3 p.m. ET) after several extensions were issued to allow late voters to cast ballots.

Many analysts say Ahmadinejad's victory will deal a blow to those throughout the country who have fought for democratic and economic reforms -- even if supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameinei has the last word in matters of state.

The race between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad set up a striking choice for Iranians.

Rafsanjani had softened his stance in recent months, calling for improving Iran's strained ties with the West -- including the United States, which has had no formal diplomatic ties with the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Another defeat obtained from the jaws of victory by C-plus Augustus.

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