Huge Voter Turnout Will Bolster Iran's Diplomatic Power

Hossein SheikholeslamHossein Sheikholeslam

A large voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election will boost Iran's image in the international arena and its diplomatic power, making major powers take a more serious account of the country, a foreign policy expert and former Iranian ambassador to Syria said.

"It is indubitable that each ballot helps strengthen our national security by showing the world our unity. People's involvement will send a signal to the world about their political awareness and indeed guarantee their future security," Hossein Sheikholeslam was also quoted as saying by ISNA on Sunday.

Iranians will go to the polls on Friday to take part in the presidential, city council and midterm parliamentary elections.

President Hassan Rouhani is contesting for reelection, along with four other contenders, namely reformist Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, ex-vice president, Mostafa Hashemitaba, and principlists Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), and former culture minister, Mostafa Mirsalim.

The expert stressed that Iran is among few Middle Eastern countries where people have a "direct role" in deciding their own fate, saying when people get involved in political affairs and deem themselves part of the system, hostile forces are compelled to change their approach and not dare use tactics to harm such a nation.

Sheikholeslam described people's influence in political affairs as a prominent feature of all democratic societies, calling for creating a "great epic" on election day.

"When 80 million people take part in political affairs and show that they care about their future, enemies will definitely not be able to employ hard power to confront that country," he said.

Senior Iranian authorities have urged people to vote so as to show the world their solidarity.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has urged an enthusiastic presence in the election, calling the voting one of the pillars of religious democracy, which makes the Iranian nation "feel honored before the world".

Rouhani has also described the upcoming election as "decisive", urging people from all walks of life to turn out to cast their ballots for the future of the country.

Hassan Hanizadeh, an expert on international affairs, highlighted Iran's global and regional position, especially in regard with the ongoing conflicts in the region, noting that it makes foreign media carefully monitor Iran's political events.

"Iran's presidential election will convey a significant message to the global community and Muslim nations … A massive participation will strengthen the nation's integrity and solidarity," ISNA quoted Hanizadeh as saying.



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