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Khatami says electoral fraud an "unpardonable sin"

TEHRAN, Nov 19 (AFP) - President Mohammad Khatami, expected to run for re-election next May, said Sunday that electoral fraud is an "unpardonable sin" and called for honesty at the ballot box.

"We must be faithful to the verdict of the polls," said Khatami, cited by state radio in a meeting with provincial governors.

"All fraud is treason and an unpardonable sin. We must be honest in announcing the results, whether they be favourable or unfavourable," he said.

Khatami saw his pro-reform supporters run away with some 80 percent of the seats in February's parliamentary elections and put an end to the longtime conservative majority in the legislature.

But announcement of the final results was delayed by months of wrangling that saw several re-counts and the wholesale cancelling of the vote in some districts.

He made no reference to the ongoing battle in the United States, where the presidential election remains undecided almost two weeks after voters went to the polls amid unprecedented legal challenges to the results.


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