Saturday, 23 September, 2017

Iran Leader, Main Presidential Contenders Cast Ballots

Iran Leader, Main Presidential Contenders Cast Ballots Iran Leader, Main Presidential Contenders Cast Ballots
Frank Williams | 19 May, 2017, 23:00

Among the first to cast their votes was the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. The Guardian Council rejected Ahmadinejad's bid to run again in Friday's election, likely to avoid any similar conflict. The reelection lead to unrest, mass arrests and killings. Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi, a vocal Rouhani supporter, voted in Cannes, France where he was attending the film festival. I like his detente policy with the world.

Raisi has tried to present a relatively liberal image, but his gender-segregated rallies are in stark contrast to the mixed and liberal-minded crowds turning out for Rouhani, who has been endorsed by leading reformists and celebrities such as Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi. "What matters is that he is not Raisi", government employee Yousef Ghaemi, 43, said by phone in the western city of Kermanshah. "I will vote for Raisi". He will not confront the leader if elected. "He will protect our Islamic identity", said Mehran Fardoust, 36, a shop keeper near the Imam Reza Shrine, in the holy city of Mashhad, Raisi's home town.

She believes a Raisi victory would give Iran a chance to revive domestic industrial production and create much-needed jobs for young people, almost a third of whom can't find work. Both deny the other's accusations.

Economic issues also will be on the minds of Iran's over 56 million eligible voters as they head to more than 63,000 polling places across the country.

Raisi's focus on domestic economic stimuli points to incremental Iranian gas output being directed inward to state-subsidized industries including Iran's petrochemicals and agricultural sectors.

"But it is a risky decision". He is also deemed responsible for the nuclear deal that Iran struck with the world powers.

But in an apparent reference to the 2009 disturbances, Khamenei, an unelected clerical hardliner who has the ultimate say in Iran, has previously warned he would confront anyone trying to interfere in the election.

Taxi driver Ali Mousavi, too, is one of millions of Iranians fretting about the economy's continued torpor despite the lifting of sanctions under Rouhani's deal with world powers to curb Iran's disputed nuclear programme.

"We have not seen the impact of the nuclear deal on our dining tables at all".

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Every 90 days, the USA president must certify for Congress that Iran is fully compliant with the JCPOA to ensure that the economic sanctions can continue to be waivered.

Moreover, Raisi has promised to provide the poor of the country with a monthly allowance which is equivalent to $65.

Raisi won the support of two major clerical bodies and promised to boost welfare payments to the poor.

Several women draped conservatively in black chadors sat on an intricate carpet this week as they listened attentively to the stay-at-home mother of three make her case to vote Raisi.

Raisi is entrenched in the conservative establishment, having served as attorney general, supervisor of state broadcaster IRIB and prosecutor in the Special Court for Clerics. And Raisi did not leave any chance to bash Rouhani in the presidential debates while mentioning this slow economic growth.

Rouhani, 68, is a moderate cleric elected in 2013 on pledges of greater personal freedoms and improved relations with the West. "We always have to choose between bad and worse in Iran's elections".

With official announcement of Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli voting hours were extended till 8 p.m. Ballot counting will start at midnight and final results are expected within 24 hours of polls closing, TV reported.

In addition to the 12th presidential election and the fifth city and village council election, by-elections are also being held in the cities of Isfahan (in Isfahan), Maragheh, Ahar, Heris (in East Azarbaijan), Ajabshir, Bastak, Parsian and Bandar Lengeh (in Hormuzgan) to elect representatives for a number of vacant parliament seats.

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