Iran Votes for New Parliament

After voting in the election, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Elections secure our national interests. Anyone who is interested in our nation's interests should participate in the election"
Iran Votes for New ParliamentIran Votes for New Parliament

Iranians went to polling stations to cast their votes on Friday in the 11th round of parliamentary elections that will determine the composition of the 290-seat legislature for the next four years.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei cast his ballot in the first minutes of voting and urged Iranians to "vote early".
Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Elections secure our national interests. Anyone who is interested in our nation's interests should participate in the election," reported. 
The Leader voted for both the nationwide parliamentary election and the midterm elections for the Assembly of Experts held concurrently in five provinces, namely Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Qom, Fars and North Khorasan.
He pointed out that election day is a "national celebration day", a day to "uphold the people's civil rights" and a "religious obligation".
President Hassan Rouhani also voted for both elections in the first hour of the polls and talked to reporters after checking up on the Election Headquarters, which has been outfitted with state-of-the-art devices.
“Today is another historic day for our country and for our revolution. There is an online connection between polling places around the nation and the Election Headquarters in the Interior Ministry."
The president said that 98% of polling stations are connected to the Election Headquarters through the National Information Network (Iran's national intranet), showing in real time how many have voted so far. 
He added that in today's elections the verification of voter identity is conducted electronically. 
The president said, "We hope to witness a fully electronic election by the year 1400 [the next presidential election in 2021]."



Foreign Policy Implications 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also underlined the significance of a high voter turnout for the country's diplomacy after casting his ballot on Friday morning.
The top diplomat said, "People will not allow someone sitting in Washington [US President Donald Trump] to decide for them. Especially someone whose hands are stained with the blood of Major General Qasem Soleimani."
Soleimani, the head of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, was killed in an airstrike ordered by the US President Donald Trump in the Iraqi capital early January.
Zarif added that the best way to reinforce the country on the international scene and to stand against the US "bullying" is by participating in the election.
Roughly 58 million Iranians were eligible to vote in yesterday's election, around 3 million of whom were first-timers. By 12 a.m. local time, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had announced that over 7 million people had voted so far. Guardians Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei has predicted a 50% voter turnout. 
Voting time on Friday was originally from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time, but the deadline was extended due to long lines in some voting centers.
Election authorities have set April 17 as the date for a possible runoff election.

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