.
.
.
.

Iran's Khamenei backs decision excluding moderate, conservative candidates

Published: Updated:

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei supported a watchdog body’s disqualification of leading moderate and conservative candidates seeking to run in the June presidential election, state TV reported on Thursday.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The Guardian Council, which vets candidates, has approved seven out of 592 hopefuls including judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, while excluding his high-profile rivals from the race.

Official opinion polls, including one conducted in May by Iran’s state-run television, suggest turnout in the vote could be as low as 30 percent, significantly lower than in past elections.

Khamenei called on Iranians to vote in the election, seen as a test of the legitimacy of the country’s clerical rulers amid rising popular anger over economic hardship and restrictions on political freedoms.

“Dear nation of Iran, do not pay attention to those who promote that voting is useless ... the outcome of the election lasts for years. ... Participate in the elections,” TV quoted Khamenei as saying.

Activists have called for a boycott of the election and the hashtag #NoToIslamicRepublic has been widely tweeted by Iranians inside and outside the country in the past weeks.

Read more:

Military advisor to Iran’s Khamenei quits presidential race for top judge Raisi

Iran approves seven candidates for presidential elections, bars prominent hopefuls

Iraqi protesters take to streets, decry rising number of targeted killings