Iran official alleges election fraud
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- An official with Iran's Interior Ministry has accused Iran's Guardian Council of election fraud in the presidential runoff vote and said he was arrested when he objected to voting irregularities, Iran's official news agency reported.
"I was personally witness to interference of Guardians Council monitors' serious interference in voting stations where I was commissioned to survey the sound process of election," Ali Mirbaqeri, the managing director of the Interior Ministry's Majlis Affairs, told IRNA.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mayor of Tehran, was declared the winner in the presidential runoff Saturday with more than 61 percent of the vote over Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani's 36 percent.
Mirbaqeri spoke to reporters at the Interior Ministry's election headquarters shortly after he was released from custody.
"The monitors of the Guardians Council were not only filling out the tariffs and controlling the voters' IDs, but also constantly issuing orders for every one," he said.
"The presence of representatives of the governor and the Interior Ministry were thus practically quite useless at the voting stations.
"I voiced my objection to such broad violation of the election laws, and was as a result arrested at a voting station," Mirbaqeri said.
He said he was freed after two-and-a-half hours in the Khani-Abad-e-Nou police station jail "thanks to the interference of the Interior Ministry."
"The monitors of the Guardians Council had in all voting stations before the one in which I was arrested, too, been violating the election laws, and kept me that they [the GC monitors] were the ones to decide the fate of the elections, and that I had no right to intervene," he said.
Steve Pike, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the United States supports "free and fair elections through which the Iranian people can express their will.
"We've had concerns about the recent election where over 1,000 candidates were disqualified from running and there were many allegations of election fraud and interference," Pike said.
"We continue to stand with those who call for greater freedom for the Iranian people."
CNN's Elaine Quijano contributed to this report.
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