3 Mar 2012

Polls now closed in Iran

9:59 am on 3 March 2012

Polls are now closed in Iran where voting in a parliamentary election on Friday was extended by three hours due to a high turnout.

The BBC reports the vote is widely viewed as a contest between supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Early on Friday, State TV broadcast images of Ayatollah Khamenei casting his vote in the capital, Tehran.

He said it was a "duty and a right'' for Iranians to elect members of Majlis, which has 290 seats.

State TV also broadcast pictures from several polling stations in Tehran and the provinces, showing long queues.

Later, al-Alam reported that voting had been extended for two hours because of "high turnout", and that polling stations would close at 8pm. This was later extended for another hour.

Official results are expected on Sunday or Monday.

More than 48 million people were eligible to take vote. There were about 47,000 polling stations.

The BBC reports it was the first election to be held in Iran since mass opposition protests in 2009 over Mr Ahmadinejad's disputed presidential election victory.