No Concerns Over Western Influence on Polls

No Concerns Over Western Influence on PollsNo Concerns Over Western Influence on Polls

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said he is not worried about the western propaganda ploy to portray Feb. 26 elections of Majlis and Assembly of Experts as unfair and unclean, because the Iranian people vigilant enough to remain unaffected.

In an interview with state TV on Saturday, Fazli said although western media have always attempted to manipulate people's opinions, Iranians do not care about them, ISNA reported.

Fazli explained that for the two upcoming elections, westerners have launched a psychological war to convey an impression that there are cheatings, which he referred to as "old tactic".

"People have strong awareness and broad discretion, and would act against the will of the western media," he said.

The minister assured that the body under his supervision has taken all measures to protect the votes.

Outlining arrangements to ensure sound elections, Fazli said nearly one million people involved in conducting elections have been trained and they will perform their tasks as per guidelines.

"Every polling station has an inspector. This is while previously [in past elections], every five to 10 stations had an inspector," he said.

"Moreover, the representatives of candidates and governors will be there watching until the votes are fully counted. Police is also tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the security of polling station."

The interior minister said that in the past three days, since the campaigning started on Thursday, no major electoral offenses have happened and a real contest is underway across the country.

Fazli noted that the ministry has enabled candidates to easily register their complaints, which will then be properly addressed.

The senior official also called on candidates to uphold moral principles in their campaigns.

"Any group that strongly considers popular demand will receive their support," he said, "Accusing and incriminating other hopefuls will get nowhere and all should be honest with people."

On the announcement of the result of polls, Fazli said in view of the record number of candidates and the simultaneous organization of two elections, people should wait for "at least three days" for the results of parliamentary elections in the capital city of Tehran, but for some other constituencies, the returns can be announced at the end of the election day.

Majlis seats are distributed among 207 electoral districts. With 30 seats, Tehran has the largest delegation of any district.

The Guardians Council, the election vetting body, released the final list of qualified Majlis candidates on Wednesday.

After investigating the records of 12,123 individuals registered to run for the parliamentary polls, the body announced that it has approved 6,233 candidates and excluded 5,223, while 612 withdrew from the race.

Those deemed eligible by the Guardians Council have one week from Thursday to launch their campaigns, heating up the race for the next parliament. For the Assembly of Experts, it was announced on February 10 that the qualifications of 161 have been approved by the council from among 795 individuals who registered to contest, while 185 have withdrawn from the race.

The assembly hopefuls could begin canvassing for votes from February 11 to 24. Candidates for both elections are prohibited from campaigning on February 25.

About 55 million Iranians with over 18 years of age are eligible to cast their votes.