Iranian presidential election polling stations open | Middle East News

More than 59 million eligible voters in Iran will decide the fate of four candidates running to succeed President Hassan Rouhani.

The polls opened in the Iranian presidential election amid concerns of a low turnout with conservative head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi widely seen as the frontrunner.

Nearly 60 million eligible voters in Iran will decide the fate of four candidates running to succeed President Hassan Rouhani. A panel led by Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei banned hundreds of candidates, including reformists and Rouhani supporters.

Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time and will close at 7:30 p.m. GMT but can be extended by two hours. The results are expected around noon on Saturday.

With the uncertainty surrounding Iran’s efforts to revive its 2015 nuclear deal and the growing poverty in the country after years of US sanctions, voter turnout is viewed by Iranian analysts as a referendum on government management. leaders of a range of crises.

“Every vote counts… come vote and choose your president… it’s important for the future of your country,” Khamenei said after voting in the capital, Tehran.

State television showed long lines outside polling stations in several cities.

Opinion polls and state-linked analysts put radical justice chief Raisi, 60, at the top of the list. If elected, Raisi would be the first sitting Iranian president to be sanctioned by the US government even before taking office for his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, as well as for his tenure as head. of the internationally criticized Iranian justice system – one of the best executioners in the world.

Raisi, wearing a black turban that identifies him in Shia tradition as a direct descendant of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad, then voted from a mosque in southern Tehran, greeting those gathered to vote.

A Raisi victory would confirm the political demise of pragmatic politicians like Rouhani, weakened by the US decision to quit the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions in a move that has stifled rapprochement with the West.

But that would not disrupt Iran’s attempt to revive the deal and break free from harsh oil and financial sanctions, Iranian officials have said, with the country’s ruling elite realizing that its political fortunes depend on fighting it. worsening economic difficulties.

Former central bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati is posing as the moderate candidate for the race, but has not inspired the same support as outgoing president Hassan Rouhani, whose term is limited to run for the post again.

Tensions remain high with the United States and Israel, which reportedly carried out a series of attacks targeting Iranian nuclear sites and assassinated the scientist who created his military atomic program decades earlier.

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