Ayatollah Khamenei began his remarks on Wednesday (June 16), broadcast live on state television and social media, by stressing both the republican and Islamic aspects of Iran’s establishment.
He said American and English media, together with their “mercenaries,” had been attempting to drive a wedge between the Iranian people and establishment by trying to discourage people from participating in the presidential election “because staying away from elections is staying away from the establishment.”
“But the bulk of the people have shown that whatever… (the foreign media) say, the people will do the opposite,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader said elections should be viewed as being beyond factional politics and political leanings, calling participation in elections “an act of virtue.”
Ayatollah Khamenei said a high turnout in elections meant that the establishment has popular support, which he said would have a “unique impact” on Iran’s might internationally.
He said Iran’s enemies sought to discourage participation in elections because they knew that if Iran’s establishment did not have people’s support, they would be able to destabilize the country.
The Leader said low participation in elections would entail higher pressure on Iran by the country’s enemies, and vice versa.
Ayatollah Khamenei said elections in the Islamic Republic have always been sound, and said the fact that presidents of sometimes divergent political viewpoints have been elected in the past has been proof.
The Leader also rejected the notion that the June 18 election is not competitive, and cited the verbal and intellectual clashes that were displayed in the three presidential debates as proof.
‘Anti-Iran TVs run by countries where people can’t tell a ballot box from a fruit box’
Ayatollah Khamenei scoffed at certain countries “where a tribe runs the state” and “people can’t tell a ballot box from a fruit box” but that launch 24/7 television networks and propagate that elections are “not democratic” in Iran.
The Leader said some lower-class Iranians were hesitant about participating in the election because they reasoned that their economic issues had not been resolved by past administrations. He acknowledged that their concerns were true but said “their decision [not to vote] is not.”
Ayatollah Khamenei urged Iranian youths — “always at the forefront and always propelling others forward” — to also promote participation in the June 18 election.
The Leader also asked authorities to firstly ensure that the health of voters would not be compromised amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that ballot papers will arrive in time and will not be short at any polling station, that polling can be properly conducted for Iranian expatriates in foreign countries, and that any violation would be confronted.
Iran is holding its 13th presidential election on June 18. Three candidates have dropped out of the race, but four others are still running. Over 59.3 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the election, according to the Iranian Interior Ministry.