Iranian Leadership Lauds Vote

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's conservative leaders on Sunday declared the country's parliamentary elections a victory that showed Iranians' defiance of the West. The United States and Europe called the vote unfair after most reformists were barred from running.Vote counting was completed everywhere in the country except the capital, Tehran, showing conservatives who support Iran's clerical leadership maintaining the hold they have had on parliament since 2004.

But the conservative camp is split. Allies of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the largest share, but a powerful bloc has formed of supporters-turned-opponents of the president's fiery, confrontational manner and his handling of the ailing economy.

Washington said Iran's leadership had "cooked" the election by barring reformists.

The European Union on Sunday said the vote was "neither fair nor free." It said the barring of reformers was a "clear violation of international norms."

Nevertheless, reformists appeared likely at least to retain the small bloc they had held -- or even increase it.

With 190 of parliament's 290 seats decided, 113 went to conservatives -- around 70 to a list dominated by pro-Ahmadinejad hard-liners and the rest to a slate led by his conservative critics, according to individual results announced by state television and the official news agency IRNA. Reformists won 31 seats, according to the results.