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Researchers have shown increasing interest in block-iterative image reconstruction algorithms due to the computational and modeling advantages they provide. Although their convergence properties have been well documented, little is known about how they behave in the presence of noise. In this work, the authors fully characterize the ensemble statistical properties of the rescaled block-iterative expectation-maximization (RBI-EM) reconstruction algorithm and the rescaled block-iterative simultaneous multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique (RBI-SMART). Also included in the analysis are the special cases of RBI-EM, maximum-likelihood EM (ML-EM) and ordered-subset EM (OS-EM), and the special case of RBI-SMART, SMART. A theoretical formulation strategy similar to that previously outlined for ML-EM is followed for the RBI methods. The theoretical formulations in this paper rely on one approximation, namely, that the noise in the reconstructed image is small compared to the mean image. In a second paper, the approximation will be justified through Monte Carlo simulations covering a range of noise levels, iteration points, and subset orderings. The ensemble statistical parameters could then be used to evaluate objective measures of image quality.