The story

Defying many predictions, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a commanding lead in the presidential vote count early Saturday, election officials with Iran's Interior Ministry said.

With 72 percent of ballot boxes counted, Ahmedinejad had 65.7 percent of the vote while his chief rival Mir Hossein Moussavi had 31.4 percent, election officials said.

Moussavi, widely regarded as a reformist, had been expected to do well as his campaign caught fire in recent days, triggering massive street rallies in Tehran.

An "unprecedented" voter turnout at the polls Friday was also expected to boost Moussavi's chances of winning the presidency.

Iran's Interior Minister Seyed Sadeq Mahsouli said 70 percent of 46 million eligible voters had gone to the polls Friday, according to Fars, another semi-official news agency. Read full article »

CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Samson Desta and Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.

All About Mahmoud AhmadinejadIranMir Hossein MoussaviAyatollah Ali Khamenei

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