By Harry Tamrazian in Prague
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami appeared on Saturday to have won a landslide re-election as vote counting continued from Friday's poll. Reports from Tehran quoted the interior ministry as saying that with more than 20 million votes counted, Khatami has won 77 percent of the ballots. The reformist leader also won the support of the overwhelming majority of Iranians living in neighboring Armenia.
Sources close to the Iranian embassy in Yerevan said out of 432 Iranian citizens that went to polls in the Armenian capital 393 voted for Khatami.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian welcomed the Khatami win on Saturday, saying that he hopes it will lead to the deepening of relations between the two nations.
News agencies said some 60 percent of the total votes have been counted out of an estimated 35 million votes cast Friday. Final results were expected later on Saturday or early Sunday.
Congratulations have begun to come in from abroad and at home for
Khatami, who ran against nine lesser-known challengers German President Johannes Rau said in Berlin that the election confirms Khatami's policies of strengthening democracy, tolerance and the dialogue of cultures.
One of Khatami's challengers, Abdollah Jasbi, said he wished him success in introducing reforms. Khatami's closest rival in the poll, conservative former labor minister Ahmad Tavakoli has received some 15 percent of the votes counted so far.