Tehran hits back at French claims against Iran’s election process

Iran has lashed out at French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot over his recent remarks on the forthcoming presidential election in the Islamic Republic.

In a statement released on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araqchi called on French authorities to avoid interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and urged them to address their own domestic problems instead.

He also pointed to the legal vetting process of presidential hopefuls by Iran’s Guardian Council – the highest electoral supervisory body according to the country’s Constitution – as well as the presidential election process in the Islamic Republic, noting that elections in Iran are free, transparent and based on the Constitution.

Araqchi later touched on the high voter turnout in all previous Iranian elections, and said such a trend indicates the “deep-rooted” status of democracy in Iran.

He stressed that the meddlesome remarks by French officials or those from other countries will have no impact on the strong determination of the Iranian nation.

On May 22, Lalliot made allegations against Iran’s electoral process, criticizing the Guardian Council’s vetting process and saying that the Iranian people should be allowed to “freely choose” their leaders.

This came after Iranian Interior Ministry published a list of eight candidates that the Guardian Council had approved to run in the country’s 11th presidential election. A total of 686 hopefuls had registered for the poll.

The candidates approved to run for president are Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili; former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi; President of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council Hassan Rohani; former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati; former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref; Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei; Iranian lawmaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel and Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

The Council did not approve, among others, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, and a close aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei.

The Iranian Constitution stipulates that presidential candidates must be religious and political figures, be Iranian by origin, have Iranian citizenship, possess administrative skills, have no criminal record, be trustworthy and pious, and have firm belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the country’s official religion.

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