REUTERS - Iran’s supreme leader formally approved the second term presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday after a disputed election that leading reformists say was rigged to ensure the incumbent’s victory.
“The official ceremony was held and Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) approved Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency,” the Arabic language al-Alam state television said.
Khamenei has endorsed the June 12 election result and demanded an end to protests during which at least 20 people were killed.
Moderate defeated candidates Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi say the next government will be illegitimate. Iranian officials deny any fraud in the election, in which the hardline Ahmadinejad was declared to have won 63 percent of 40 million votes cast, against 34 percent for Mousavi.
Ahmadinejad will be sworn in by parliament on Wednesday.
He then has two weeks to submit his cabinet list to the mostly conservative parliament, which may object if he names only members of his inner circle.