Iran grants clemency to over 5,000 prisoners

Iran’s Khamenei urges people to vote amid abstention fears

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Tehran: Iran’s supreme leader on Friday urged voters to participate in this month’s presidential election and warned that staying away would mean doing the job of “an enemy of Islam”.

Due to widespread dissatisfaction with the severe economic and social crisis, Iranians will elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani on June 18.

“Some want to give up the duty to participate in the election with absurd reasons,” Khamenei said, in a televised speech.

“It is the will of the enemies, the enemies of Iran, the enemies of Islam and the enemies of religious democracy.”

The presidential election campaign kicked off on May 28, without fanfare and in an atmosphere of indifference, as many say the result is a foregone conclusion.

Khamenei last week made similar calls urging people not to heed calls to boycott the poll.

The opposition based outside Iran is running a campaign on social media networks calling for people to stay away from the polls, using hashtags in Farsi such as #NototheIslamicRepublic.

“It has been said that some people are reluctant to go to the ballot box due to the pressures on their livelihoods, which we all know and experience,” Khamenei said, adding that such problems are solved “by making the right choice, not by not choosing”.

He also quoted the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who said that in some cases, abstention is “one of the most serious deadly crimes.” “.

Iran’s conservative guardianship committee approved seven candidates—five ultraconservatives and two reformists—from about 600 candidates.

The head of the ultra-conservative judiciary, Ibrahim Raisi, received 38% of the votes in the 2017 presidential election and is widely regarded as the most popular candidate.

Rouhani, who has banned running for a third consecutive term under the constitution, warned of the risk of low turnout.

A record 57% of Iranians did not participate in the parliamentary elections in February last year. Thousands of candidates, many of them moderates and reformers, were barred from participating in the elections.

The election is at a critical juncture, and negotiations with the world’s major powers aim to restore the nuclear agreement reached in 2015, which provides sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s agreement to strictly control its nuclear program.

Since then U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew and re-imposed severe sanctions in 2018, the agreement has been a life-sustaining state.

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