A body of 12 clerics declared Iran''s disputed presidential vote valid and free of major fraud, paving the way for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be sworn in next month despite claims of vote manipulation that sparked weeks of massive protest.

The Guardian Council, an electoral authority the opposition accuses of favoring Ahmadinejad, said Monday that it had found only "slight irregularities" after randomly selecting and recounting 10 percent of nearly 40 million ballots.

"From today on, the file on the presidential election has been closed," Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said on state-run Press TV.

Opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has said Ahmadinejad stole re-election through fraud and demanded a new election. Western analysts have described Ahmadinejad''s roughly 2-1 margin of victory as suspicious and improbable.

Conservative Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, who heads the Guardian Council, said that "meticulous and comprehensive examination" revealed only "slight irregularities that are common to any election and needless of attention," according to the state TV channel IRIB.