TEHRAN, Iran – A constitutional watchdog council Wednesday approved the result of presidential runoff election that gave ultraconservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (search) a landslide victory, state-run television reported.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council, said in a letter addressed to Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari that the council approved the outcome of Friday's runoff vote since no complaints were filed by any of the candidates.
Ahmadinejad called the election victory a "new Islamic revolution," according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
"Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has occurred. ... God willing, it will uproot injustices in the world," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying at a Wednesday meeting with family members of victims of a 1981 terrorist attack that killed then Chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammed Hosseini Beheshti.
Ahmadinejad, the hard-line mayor of Tehran, defeated Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani (search), one of Iran's best-known statesmen, in a stunning upset that put conservatives firmly in control of all branches of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The results gave Ahmadinejad 61.6 percent of the vote to Rafsanjani's 35.9 percent. Turnout among Iran's approximately 47 million eligible voters was more than 59 percent.
The defeated candidate Rafsanjani has complained that he was the victim of "organized intervention" by Iran's ruling hard-line hierarchy, which backed ultraconservative candidate Ahmadinejad — the surprise winner of Friday's runoff vote.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (search), ordered the judiciary Tuesday to investigate the smear campaign against the losing candidate in last week's presidential elections, but he steered blame toward the U.S., not followers of the hard-line winner.
Rafsanjani, however, criticized the elite Revolutionary Guards and their vigilantes wings and hard-line clerics. Jannati is widely seen as one of Ahmadinejad's greatest supporters.
Rafsanjani has said he would not file a complaint to the country's judges as they "either don't want or cannot do anything." He said he would complain only to God.
Real power in Iran lies with Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters and can overrule elected officials. Khamenei is commander in chief of the armed forces, and appoints the head of judiciary and key members of the Guardian Council. Many powerful political and economic institutions also directly report to Khamenei.
Reformers, who lost Parliament in disputed elections last year after thousands of reformist candidates were disqualified by the Guardian Council, had been hoping to retain some hand in government to preserve the greater social freedoms they've been able to win, such as looser dress codes, more mixing between the sexes and openings to the West.
So far Ahmadinejad has promised moderation in his government and vowed to shun extremism. He takes power in August.