Friday Polls Boosted Iran’s Global Clout

Friday Polls Boosted Iran’s Global CloutFriday Polls Boosted Iran’s Global Clout

The massive participation of Iranians in the Feb. 26 polls has increased the Islamic Republic's global clout, the parliament speaker said.

Iranians showed up in force at polling stations on Friday to cast their votes for the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.

"This strong presence has improved Iran's international standing," Ali Larijani said in an address to an open session of parliament on Monday, ICNA reported.

The Interior Ministry has put the nationwide turnout at 62%. However, in Tehran, whose 30 seats are seen as wielding more influence than the other 260 parliamentary seats, only half of the electorate voted.

Larijani, a leading moderate conservative, has recently shown leanings toward rival reformists, although he was not included in a combined list of parliamentary candidates representing a pro-government reformist-moderate coalition. He crossed party lines by lending support to last year's landmark nuclear agreement, which came out of nearly two years of negotiations with major powers.

The coalition members won all the Majlis seats for Tehran, and moderate President Hassan Rouhani and his powerful pro-reform ally Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ranked third and first in the assembly vote respectively, according to the final tally released on Monday.

This is while a large number of prominent reformists who initially stood up to run for the twin polls were barred by the Guardians Council, a move that drew strong criticism from Rouhani and other officials.

"Now, after the elections, we should work toward promoting convergence and synergy, so the nation's performance in the elections can translate to a boosted regional and international role for Iran, allowing it to further advance its national interests," the senior lawmaker added.