News

    Voting Ends in Iran's Parliamentary Elections

    People stand in line to cast their votes at a mosque in eastern Tehran, Iran, during the parliamentary election,  March 2, 2012.
    People stand in line to cast their votes at a mosque in eastern Tehran, Iran, during the parliamentary election, March 2, 2012.

    Parliamentary Election Facts

    • Candidates are cleared by the Guardian Council.
    • 3,444 candidates are running out of the 5,395 who registered.
    • Parliament has 290 seats.
    • Voters must be over 18 years old.
    • 48 million people of Iran's 74 million strong population are eligible to vote.
    • Ballots are counted manually.

    Voting has ended in Iran's parliamentary elections after the interior ministry kept the polling stations open for several additional hours because of the long lines of people waiting to cast their ballots.

    Iranian state media claim a "massive turnout" for the Friday elections, which are likely to solidify Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's control over conservative rivals tied to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Some 3,400 candidates are vying for seats in the 290-member parliament. More than 48 million Iranians are eligible to cast ballots.

    Iran's main opposition and reformists groups boycotted Friday's election, the first since the disputed 2009 presidential vote. Mostly hardliners' names appeared on the ballots. All candidates were cleared by the Guardian Council, a powerful group of Islamic experts and jurists that rules on constitutional issues.

    Iran's conservative government and clerical leaders have pursued a crackdown on the reformist movement since it staged mass protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election.

    Ayatollah Khamenei predicted that a big turnout would represent an act of defiance toward Iran's enemies. He was referring to Western powers leading a sanctions campaign against Iran's controversial nuclear program, and to Israel.

    Western powers have tightened sanctions as a means of pressuring Iran to stop nuclear activities that could be used to produce weapons. Iran says its nuclear program has purely peaceful goals.

    During Friday prayers, conservative cleric Kazem Sedighi addressed worshippers chanting anti-American slogans. Sedighi told the crowd that Friday's elections showed the world that Iran's reformist leaders do not have the support they once did.

    "In this round of elections they [the West] were under the impression that they can do something because the leaders of sedition [Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi] were absent, and they assumed these [leaders] still have supporters and because of that they can do something [sabotage the Iranian government]," said Sedighi. "However, whenever our vigilant, insightful people by the grace of God felt that the enemy was plotting, they came out and made an outstanding turnout."

    After casting his vote, Iran's former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said he wishes the election results would come strictly from the ballot boxes. Rafsanjani heads the powerful Expediency Discernment Council, which advises the country's Supreme Leader on policy and seeks to resolve deadlocks between lawmakers and the Guardian Council.

    "God willing, the outcome of the elections will be what the people want, and the result will come from the votes they cast into the ballot boxes. If it will be so, God willing, we will have a good parliament, because the people really care about Islam, the Revolution and Iran. The people's choice is really important. I hope that people, with their effective participation, turn the parliament into such a place that can be effective at this critical time for our country," said Rafsanjani.

    Iran's Guardian Council says no outside organizations will be permitted to monitor the turnout or vote-counting process. Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said Thursday the presence of international observers would be an "insult" to the Iranian people.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices
    . Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora