Judge sanctioned by U.S. set to take over Iran presidency

Judge sanctioned by U.S. set to take over Iran presidency
# 18 June 2021 20:21 (UTC +04:00)

Iranians voted on Friday in a contest set to hand the presidency to a hardline judge subject to U.S. sanctions, though many are likely to ignore the ballot amid anger over economic hardship and calls for a boycott by critics of hardline rule, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Senior officials appealed for a large turnout in an election widely seen as a referendum on their handling of mounting economic and social pressures, including rising prices and unemployment and a collapse in the value of its currency.

"I urge everyone with any political view to vote," judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi, the front-runner in the contest, said after casting his ballot, state media reported.

"Our people's grievances over shortcomings are real, but if it is the reason for not participating, then it is wrong."

While state television showed long queues at polling stations in several cities, the semi-official Fars news agency reported 14 million or 23% of voters had cast ballots by 4:45 pm (1215 GMT), citing its own reporter.

After voting in the capital Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians to cast ballots, saying "each vote counts ... come and vote and choose your president".

Raisi, 60, is backed by security hawks in his bid to succeed Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist prevented under the constitution from serving a third four-year term in the post, which runs the government day-to-day and reports to Khamenei.

Supported by the powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, Raisi, a close Khamenei ally, is under U.S. sanctions for alleged involvement in executions of political prisoners decades ago.

Voters reached by Reuters expressed mixed views.

Maryam, 52, a hairdresser in Karaj near Tehran, said she would not vote because "I have lost confidence in the system."

"Every time I voted in the past, I had hope that my living standard would improve. But I lost hope when saw the highest official in the country wasn't brave enough to resign when he couldn't make things better," she said, referring to Rouhani.

Asked which candidate he preferred, Mohammad, 32, at a polling station in a hamlet in southern Iran, replied: "To be honest none of them, but our representative in parliament says we should vote for Raisi so that everything will improve.”

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THE OPERATION IS BEING PERFORMED