Science

Moderate Iran candidate concedes win by judiciary chief

Moderate Iran candidate concedes win by judiciary chief”

Iran's Guardian Council, the constitutional watchdog tasked with approving candidates, allowed only Raisi and six other lesser-known Khamenei loyalists to run in the election, barring hundreds of other presidential hopefuls, including several politicians who have prominent public profiles comparable to Raisi's. The disqualifications sparked a weekslong campaign by Khamenei's Iranian critics inside and outside the country to encourage a boycott of what they described as a sham election. The ballots were counted overnight, and authorities were yet to release the official result or turnout figures.

Three of the vetted candidates dropped out of the race two days before Friday's election, and two of them threw their support behind Raisi.

"I hope your government, under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will bring comfort and prosperity to our nation", said former central bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati in a letter, media said. He said he backs Iran's talks with the US and other powers to revive the nuclear deal.

"Whether I vote or not, someone has already been elected", scoffed Tehran shopkeeper Saeed Zareie.

These elections are seen by many Iranians as a brazen power grab by the hardliners who seem to have decided that they can never win free and fair elections, judging by their past performance. Enthusiasm was dampened further by spiralling inflation and job losses, and the pandemic that proved more deadly in Iran than anywhere else in the region, killing more than 80,000 people by the official count.

The election of a hardline president might also adversely affect the current indirect talks between Iran and the USA to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement and have the key United States sanctions lifted.

More news: G7 rivals China with grand infrastructure plan

It's election day in Iran and for many, the question is not who to vote for, but whether to vote at all.

In 1988, Raisi was part of a four-person "death panel" that allegedly oversaw the mass execution of up to 5,000 political prisoners, according to rights groups.

Listen to our other coverage on Iran, including the impact of sanctions on people's lives. Tehran is also now locked in negotiations with the United States about how to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. But Iran began violating the nuclear curbs in 2019 in retaliation for then-President Donald Trump's decision the previous year to withdraw from the JCPOA and unilaterally tighten USA sanctions.

Khamenei hopes a victorious Raisi will help clean up some of the systemic corruption in Iran's power structures, said Prague-based Iranian journalist Behnam Gholipour, speaking to VOA Persian.

While Iran has always denied seeking a nuclear weapon, Trump charged it is still planning to build the bomb and is destabilising the Middle East through armed proxy groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Analysts said much of Iran's electorate appeared disenchanted with their Islamist rulers for mismanaging an economy ravaged by US sanctions, a prolonged pandemic and official corruption. The economy nosedived and spiralling prices fuelled repeated bouts of social unrest which were put down by security forces. Despite this, there is broad agreement among Iran's senior political figures, including Raisi, that the country must seek an end to the U.S. sanctions in ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at rescuing the nuclear accord.



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