Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suffered an embarrassing blow in local council races, according to partial election results Monday, in voting viewed as a sign of public discontent with his hard-line stance.
The balloting represented a partial comeback for opponents of Ahmadinejad, whose Islamic government's policies have fueled fights with the West and brought Iran closer to U.N. sanctions.
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a relative moderate, polled the most votes of any Tehran candidate to win re-election to a key assembly post.
The biggest victory was for "moderate conservatives," supporters of Iran's cleric-led power structure who are angry at Ahmadinejad, saying he has needlessly provoked the West with harsh rhetoric and has failed to fix the country's faltering economy.
The election, which was Friday, does not directly affect Ahmadinejad's administration and is not expected to bring immediate policy changes.