Supreme Leader of the Islamic Ummah and Oppressed People Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei lauded the Iranian nation for mass-participation in parliamentary elections despite enemies’ negative propaganda.
“The negative propaganda had started since several months ago (against elections) and increased close to the elections time and their media did not lose any opportunity to dissuade people from participation in elections on the last two days under the pretext of a disease and virus (coronavirus),” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Sunday.
Supreme Leader said that enemies’ hostilities are not restricted to the economic, cultural and religious fields, and added, “They are even opposed to the Iranian nation’s elections because they do not want the phenomenon of people’s presence at the ballot box to continue as an established reality.”
Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei described elections in the Islamic establishment as an element to discredit enemies’ claims of opposition of religion to freedom and democracy, and said, “Elections in the Islamic Republic shows that religion is a full manifestation of a full-fledged democracy and holding 37 elections in 41 years shows the Islamic Republic’s unique attention to democracy.”
Supreme Leader underlined the necessity for all people’s vigilance against enemies’ plots, and said, “Millions of people in the Iranian nation’s front should be prepared to defend, hit a blow and counterattack in propaganda affairs and different possible efforts for the nation against thousands of people in the enemy’s front operating against Iran in different fields.”
Tens of millions of Iranians headed to the polls to elect 290 members for the Majlis (the parliament) and 7 members of the Assembly of Experts in its midterm elections on Friday morning.
Candidates from across the political isle were vying for 30 parliamentary and 3 Experts Assembly seats in the capital.
Long queues of people were reported in different cities and towns of Iran, including the capital, Tehran.
Ayatollah Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi and other high-ranking Iranian officials cast their votes in the early hours of Friday morning, calling for people’s mass-participation.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had announced last Saturday that 54,611 polling stations across the country would open on Friday in 208 electoral regions, saying the ballot papers have been designed with 10 security indices to prevent any fraud.
According to the interior minister, there are 57,918,159 eligible voters in the parliamentary elections on Friday, including around 3 million people eligible to vote for the first time.
Law Enforcement Police forces and (Basij) voluntary forces have been entrusted with establishment of security in different cities and towns during elections hours.
Last Tuesday, Supreme Leader called on people to go to the polls.
“Elections are a source for strengthening the country. Look at how US propaganda seeks to separate the people from the Islamic system. They create think tanks to plot this. They seek to distance the Iranian youth from the Islamic system, but they won’t succeed,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large number of Iranian people from East Azarbaijan province in Tehran.
“Enemies and friends are watching. Enemies want to see the result of these economic problems, the Westerners’ deceit in their promises to us, and the US pressures on the people. Our friends watch worriedly, but we always tell them not to worry. The Iranian nation knows what it’s doing,” he said.
“Taking part in the elections nullifies many of the vicious plots of the US and the Zionist regime against Iran. These elections repel the schemes and ploys of the enemies of Iran,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
“Iran should become stronger; this frustrates the enemy. One manifestation of strength is having a strong Majlis. The more participation there is in the election, the stronger the Majlis will be. This is one factor for strengthening the Majlis,” Supreme Leader continued.
Meantime, the Iranian interior minister said last Saturday that a runoff vote for the parliamentary seats will be held on April 17 if the candidates fail to garner enough votes on Friday.
Last year, Iran’s parliament objected to a motion to increase the number of the seats, keeping the figure at 290.
A total of 57,918,000 people were eligible to cast their ballots, therefore; there would be one lawmaker at the parliament per each 190,000-strong segment of the Iranian population.
A total of 7,148 candidates, including dozens of Iranians from the religious minorities, were running for the parliament.
In capital Tehran, 1,335 candidates were contesting one of the 30 allocated seats on the legislature.
The lawmakers are elected for a 4-year term, with no limitation for the incumbent or former parliamentarians to run again.