Iran General NewsIran's hardline cleric urges high turnout

Iran’s hardline cleric urges high turnout

-

Reuters: A leading hardline cleric urged Iranians on Friday to turn out in force for presidential elections next week, warning that a low turnout would be a defeat for the Islamic republic.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati refrained from endorsing any of the eight men vying for the job in June 17 polls, but called on people to defy Iran’s “enemies” by ensuring a high turnout. Reuters

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN – A leading hardline cleric urged Iranians on Friday to turn out in force for presidential elections next week, warning that a low turnout would be a defeat for the Islamic republic.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati refrained from endorsing any of the eight men vying for the job in June 17 polls, but called on people to defy Iran’s “enemies” by ensuring a high turnout.

“The prestige of the Islamic republic depends on your votes. It is our religious and political duty to vote,” Jannati told worshippers at Friday prayers at Tehran University. “Your votes will make the country stronger.”

The clerical establishment has been trying to overcome apathy and disillusionment among voters, particularly young Iranians, over the slow pace of President Mohammad Khatami’s reforms since his landslide election wins in 1997 and 2001.

Khatami is barred from standing for a third consecutive term.

Half the country’s 67 million people are under 25 and the minimum voting age is 15. But many have indicated they will not vote.

Jannati said the country’s enemies, a reference to the United States, had been trying to discourage Iranian voters through the “bombardment of hostile propaganda,” aimed at questioning the Islamic states’ legitimacy.

“If you want to make America angry, make queues at voting booths,” Jannati said.

Washington accuses Iran of sponsoring “terrorism” and trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges.

“Cast your vote as each vote means Death to America,” Jannati said in a speech broadcast live by state media.

The crowd of worshippers broke into repeated chants of “Death to America,” denouncing the Islamic republic’s arch-foe.

MOUNTED CAMPAIGN

As the elections draw near, the Islamic state has mounted a media campaign to urge a big turnout, which officials say would show the popularity and legitimacy of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, bidding to regain the post he held from 1989 to 1997, is considered the most moderate of the five conservative candidates vying to replace Khatami. Three reformists are also standing.

Rafsanjani holds a commanding lead in opinion polls but is still well short of the 50 percent support he needs to avoid a run-off vote. Former police chief, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, is second in the polls.

Prominent among the large banners at the prayer meeting was one that declared “Iranians, despite the conspiracies of America, will go to the polls.”

All eight presidential rivals, aware of the importance of appealing to young voters, have been promising in their campaign messages to create more jobs and ease social restrictions.

But some people remain unconvinced.

“Why should I vote when each vote means a vote for the clerical rule?” said Mahin, 25, one of many young people who seem set to challenge the Islamic state by boycotting the vote.

Latest news

Khamenei’s Disgraceful Campaign Against Piranshahr and Javanrud, Who Will Be the Loser?

On the 67th day of Iran’s revolution, the Iranian regime attempted to put a halt to the protests in...

Iran: Expensive Medicine, Cheap Human Life

A look at the equipment and weapons that the Iranian regime has been using against its people to suppress...

Who Is Abolqasem Salavati Iran Regime’s Killer Judge?

Last week, it was announced that the case of several people who were arrested during the Iranian People's uprising...

Iran Revolution Characteristics

More than two months have passed since the start of the latest round of protests in Iran against the...

Iran’s Regime Is Unable To Eradicate Protests

Totalitarian governments, whether be it a monarchy or a clerical regime, and their international supporters are pursuing the same...

Ten Percent of Iran’s Nation Is Ready To Sacrifice Itself for Freedom

According to estimates by the Iranian regime’s main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), more than...

Must read

Profile: Iraq’s feared Shiite militia chief

Iran Focus: London, Nov. 15 – This is the...

Iran’s NITC to add 22 very large crude carriers to tanker fleet by 2013

Bloomberg: NITC of Iran will become the world’s third-biggest...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you