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.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs