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Iran's presidential election begins as Supreme Leader casts vote

Iran's presidential election begins as Supreme Leader casts vote

Iranians will soon head to the polls to vote for the next president.

Iranians are voting in a presidential contest which pits President Hassan Rouhani against a serious challenger, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, in what is believed to be a close race.

Many carried lists of councillors advised by reformists or conservatives on their mobiles and helped elderly people fill out their ballots.

"The City and Village Councils Election is also important as it elects those who are in charge of urban and rural services, namely the everyday issues involving the people", the Leader said.

REZA SAYAH: At this Raisi rally, a film taunts President Rouhani, suggesting he sold out his revolutionary values to cozy up to Washington.

In the election, Rowhani has history on his side. Before Rouhani took office, 15.5% of the country was unemployed. In other words, he didn't give huge contribution to Rouhani's campaign.

"This is very bad".

The incumbent, relative moderate Hassan Rohani, and a conservative former prosecutor, Ebrahim Raisi, are widely regarded as the presidential front-runners in the clerically dominated Islamic country of around 81 million people, which is laboring under high unemployment and struggling to seize economic opportunities overseas.

A distinction exists, it seems, between discussing your ballot with friends and advertising your choice to the world.

Although Rouhani has an incumbent's advantage, his promised economic revival is seen by many as having fallen short of his stated goals, and he has been the target of unceasing and strong allegations of corruption.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and four candidates for presidency have already casted their ballots in elections.

Supporters of the two leading candidates honked, blared music and held pictures of the hopefuls out of auto windows on the traffic-clogged and heavily policed streets of Tehran late into the night Thursday, ignoring a ban on campaigning in the final 24 hours before the vote.

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"One wrong decision by the president can mean war", he warned this week.

The outcome will impact the implementation of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, undermined by the US Trump administration, although still kept on track.

Iran's constitutional structure is unique; it is basically a theocracy with some of the trappings of a presidential democracy.

The election of the President is important in Iran and people should take note of this point, Khamenei said.

Long queues formed at polling stations around the country after a short but gripping campaign that has again captivated the nation of 80 million. And by doing so, they hurt President Rouhani, his credibility. It was hard to get lab equipment and very difficult to get visas to study overseas. "We will not retreat", Rouhani said in a campaign rally.

Khamenei has long touted the benefits of a so-called "resistance economy" that flouts the global marketplace as well as the worldwide community. For young people it is nearly 30%.

Mr Raisi, a law professor and former prosecutor, has promised to triple cash handouts to the poor. Reformist-Activist Mostafa Tajzadeh was quoted by FP, saying that although he is anxious that promise of cash might influence the poor and unemployed voters, he also points out how the Iranian middle-class and liveral voters are unenthusiastic about the elections.

Official results, announced by Iran's Ministry of Interior, are not expected until later this weekend. Iran's hardline candidates continue to toe that line.

In a sign of the oddities of the Iranian system, he voted for Rouhani and called on his supporters to do the same. If no candidate has a first round majority, a second round will be held next week, although this has only happened once before, in 2005.

Rouhani has urged the Guards not to meddle in the vote, a warning that reflects the political tension.

Others were voting for the first time, including 51-year-old Amir Fathollahzadeh. For example, today I read a poll, according to which Rouhani leads with 46%, but I also saw some polls saying he leads with 60%.

In public, he has an austere charisma, and is surrounded by an entourage with ties to the Islamic regime's most hardline elements. Rouhani's problem is that nothing much has changed in the economy either.


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