Feared Iranian general Suleimani tops ‘person of the year’ poll
Suleimani won 37 percent of the votes cast in a survey conducted by KhabarOnline
General Qassem Suleimani, who has been at the heart of Iran's military power, was voted Iran's person of the year in an annual poll released Sunday.
In a poll conducted by KhabarOnline, a moderate conservative Iranian news website, Suleimani won 37 percent of the votes cast in the survey to mark the Persian New Year, Nowruz.
Once rarely seen, observers say Suleimani has held influence for over a decade in Iraq and Middle East conflicts.
He plays a key role in the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Syria and was pictured recently in the battlefield in Tikirt, were Shiite militias supported by Iran are fighting militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
Suleimani beat last year's winner, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who heads Iran's negotiating team in nuclear talks with the world powers, scored 28 percent this year.
According to KhabarOnline, 463,000 votes were cast between March 7 and March 14, with the results being released one week before Nowruz, which falls on March 21.
Popular pop singer and composer Morteza Pashaei, who died from cancer in November aged just 30, placed third in the poll with 18 percent.
Outspoken conservative member of parliament Ali Motahari came fourth with 13 percent.
[with Agence France-Presse]