Iranians begin voting in parliamentary election

An Iranian man closes an empty ballot box before starting the vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Tehran, Iran February 21, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Iranians began voting on Friday in a parliamentary election that is unlikely to change the Islamic Republic’s troubled relations with the United States, after thousands of candidates were barred from the field in favour of hardliners.

State television said polling started at 0430 GMT. Voting is set to run for 10 hours, with about 58 million Iranians eligible to vote for the representatives in the 290-member parliament. 

Iran’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was the first to cast his vote.

“Voting is a religious duty…which will also guarantee the national interests of Iran,” Khamenei said after he voted, broadcast live on state TV.

“I am urging Iranians to vote early.” 

With Iran facing growing isolation on the global stage and discontent at home over economic hardships, analysts have said the turnout will amount to a referendum on the leaders’ handling of political and economic crises.