Supreme Leader Khamenei calls for “high turnout” in Iranian presidential election

Supreme Leader Khamenei calls for “high turnout” in Iranian presidential election
Supreme Leader Khamenei calls for “high turnout” in Iranian presidential election

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday called for “high turnout” in Friday’s presidential election to replace Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

“We insist on the importance of high participation (in the elections) because it is a source of pride for the Islamic Republic,” declared the ayatollah during a televised speech three days before the vote.

“Every time the people’s participation in the elections was low, the enemies of the Islamic Republic have blamed us,” he added.

Voters have the choice between six candidates, who were selected by the Council of Guardians of the Constitution – an unelected body dominated by conservatives – among the 80 personalities who presented their candidacy.

Three of them are presented as the favorites: the conservative speaker of parliament Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf, the former ultra-conservative nuclear file negotiator Said Jalili and the reformist deputy Masud Pezeshkian.

In the last presidential elections, in 2021, power overruled numerous reformists and moderates, allowing Raisi, a candidate from the conservative camp, to be easily elected and succeed the moderate president Hasan Rohani.

Turnout reached no more than 49%, the lowest rate for a presidential election since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

In his speech Khamenei criticized, without naming names, “some Iranian politicians” who “think that all the paths to progress pass through the United States,” the country that Iran considers its enemy.

Pezeshkian called for improving relations with Washington in order to lift the severe sanctions imposed by the United States, which weigh heavily on the Iranian economy.

The Iranian presidential elections are closely watched on the international stage, as Tehran is an important player in the Middle East, against a backdrop of war in Gaza and concerns about its nuclear program.

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AFP

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