Tehran: Iran’s supreme leader urged voters on Thursday to ignore the boycott call and turn a deaf ear to criticism that next month’s presidential election is largely an ultra-conservative candidate being rejected.
Iranians will elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani on June 18, because people are generally dissatisfied with the deep economic and social crisis, and after the wave of protests in the winter of 2017-18 and 2019 was violently suppressed .
The opposition based outside Iran has for months run a campaign on social media networks calling on Iranians to stay away from the polls, using hashtags in Persian such as #NototheIslamicRepublic.
“Do not pay attention to those who are campaigning and saying it is useless to go to the polls and that one should not go to the polls,” supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told lawmakers in a speech via videoconference, according to his official Instagram account.
Khamenei s declaration comes a day after Rouhani said he had asked the supreme leader to intervene to ensure greater “competition” in the presidential election.
The Islamic republic s candidate-vetting Guardian Council on Tuesday approved seven mainly ultraconservative candidates to run in the election from a field of about 600 hopefuls.
The council — a conservative-dominated, unelected body — disqualified moderate conservative Ali Larijani and first vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri, as well as firebrand former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This move seems to have cleared the way for the strong operation of Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the ultra-conservative judiciary.
But this has also triggered a lot of criticism of the Guardianship Board, and is expected to lead to an increase in voter abstentions.