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A 'celebration of democracy' for the Islamic Republic 

 TEHRAN – I'm outside one of the main polling booths here, a large mosque in downtown Tehran. The polls are supposed to officially close soon. But from where I'm sitting, it's clear that will not be enough time. I am looking at hundreds of people on the steps of this mosque trying to get into to vote.

According to Iranian officials the turnout has been unprecedented. There are estimates that as many as 70 percent of eligible voters have turned out.

VIDEO: Record turnout expected in Iran vote

That could be an indication that many of the young people who have been so inspired by this campaign and came out in the tens of thousands to demonstrate, demand change and protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually did come out today to vote.

That was always the big question. Whenever you have so many students who are leading a charge, it's unclear if they will actually turn out on voting day. That seems to have taken place today. Many of the people we saw were young people. 

The polling stations we've seen have been very calm and orderly.  Aside from the big crowds, we haven't seen any pushing or shoving. It's been very organized. There is security, but it hasn't been threatening in any way. The security has been mostly in terms of crowd control – from what we've seen.

The average waiting time in line doesn't seem to be much more than an hour. Some people have talked about waiting two or three hours, but the lines that we've seen have been moving fairly quickly.

Iranian state television has reporters in several of the key voting districts, broadcasting live from the polling centers.

The state media are describing it as a celebration of democracy, that the election shows that the Islamic Republic can have a free vote and that it is in line with the principals of the Islamic Revolution. 

So they are celebrating this as a major achievement, but are saying that of course the results are too early to call.

Members of the opposition say that their own internal polling shows that their candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is in the lead. However government officials are saying that it is too early to tell and accused Mousavi's supporters, who are claiming to have this data, of trying to influence the vote while it is still in progress.

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