June 14 - Iranian voters turned out in larger number numbers on Friday to choose a new president, despite a limited choice of one relative moderate and three main hardline conservatives, with long lines forming outside polling stations. Mana Rabiee reports.
Iran's presidential candidates cast their votes on Friday, promising their full support to the eventual victor. In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wished his successor the best as he cast HIS vote. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRANINA INCUMBENT PRESIDENT, MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, SAYING: "I pray to God that he may give all his blessings to the nation of Iran, for him to give the unified society justice and help them achieve the best future." Turnout was said to be high among Iran's 50 million eligible voters, and polling stations were ordered to remain open late to accommodate the lines. Voters had a choice of six candidates, although none is expected to challenge the Islamic Republic's clerical rule. Analysts here say a big turnout could benefit the sole moderate conservative candidate, Hassan Rohani, seen here casting his ballot. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) FORMER CHIEF NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR, HASSAN ROHANI, SAYING: "The rest is in the hands of the people. The people will decide through their votes who the right candidate is." The hardliners failed to unite behind a single candidate. That could mean the conservative vote will be split, raising the likelihood of a run-off in a week's time.