NewsSpecial WireIran’s fourth largest city spends quiet election day

Iran’s fourth largest city spends quiet election day

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Iran Focus: Tabriz, Iran, Jun. 24 – Polling stations across this north-western metropolis and capital of Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province remained quiet throughout the day, as the local population by and large ignored the second round of presidential elections in Iran. A tour of the city at different times of the day between 9 am and 4 pm showed that there were only a handful of voters in most centres, with the security forces often outnumbering the voters. Iran Focus

Tabriz, Iran, Jun. 24 – Polling stations across this north-western metropolis and capital of Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province remained quiet throughout the day, as the local population by and large ignored the second round of presidential elections in Iran.

A tour of the city at different times of the day between 9 am and 4 pm showed that there were only a handful of voters in most centres, with the security forces often outnumbering the voters. In one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Abressan Avenue, two polling centres had no one turning up to vote between 10 am and 2 pm.

In Imam Sadegh Mosque, Hannaneh Primary School, Dehkhoda School, and Masjede Ghariblar, all in downtown Tabriz, the number of voters at any given time varied between one and four.

The only polling station with a large crowd was Salar-e Shahidan Mosque, the gathering point for members of Ansar-e Hezbollah, the state-organized gangs of Islamic vigilantes.

In Taleghani Street, Shahidi Mosque and Imamzadeh Mosque there were a handful of voters in the afternoon.

The polling station at Shahnaz Intersection, a district populated by ethnic Armenians, was completely deserted.

People walking in the streets or sitting in cafes and restaurants smiled and congratulated one another on the evident victory of boycott calls. Some joked that the state radio and television would be announcing an extension of voting deadline to deal with “the huge turnout”.

Observers believe that if the voting pattern in other cities were broadly similar to what has been going on in Tabriz, Tehran’s mayor would stand a better chance than former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. While the vast majority of ordinary voters have stayed away from the polls, the small minority who support the radical clerics have come out to vote for their favourite candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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