News / Middle East

    Khamenei Praises Iran Vote, Urges Focus on National Interests

    Election officials count ballot papers after the close of polling stations during elections for the parliament and a leadership body called the Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    Election officials count ballot papers after the close of polling stations during elections for the parliament and a leadership body called the Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    VOA News

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on those elected to parliament and the important Assembly of Experts to act in the interests of Iran and stand against the influence of outsiders.

    Final results from Saturday's election are expected Monday or Tuesday, but unofficial tallies show reformists and moderates winning all 30 parliamentary seats in the capital, Tehran, in what would be a resounding vote of confidence for President Hassan Rouhani.  Hardliners were poised to lose considerable ground in the 290-seat legislature, but were winning areas outside of major cities.

    Iran is emerging from years of international sanctions imposed because of allegations it was working to develop nuclear weapons.

    The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei saying development is the country's top goal.

    "Nominal development without independence or national dignity is not accepted," he said.

    'Time to open a new chapter'

    IRNA quoted Rouhani saying Saturday the election has given the government more credibility and clout.

    "The competition is over.  It's time to open a new chapter in Iran's economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

    The president made last year's nuclear agreement with a group of world powers a key objective of his administration and the outcome could be interpreted as a comment on the level of support for his policies.

    The final results may also provide the first clue as to whether key Western proponents of the deal will receive what they hoped for: a more open, moderate Iran.

    Rouhani and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also are leading the race for membership in the Assembly of Experts. The influential body monitors the work of Supreme Leader Khamenei, who has final say on Iran's foreign policy, and could choose the next supreme leader.

    • Iranians stand in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections in Qom, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranian women stand in line at a polling station during the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian man and a woman check the names of candidates from the list before voting for the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections at a polling station in the holy city of Qom, 130kms south of the capital Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • In this photo released by official website of the office of Iranian Presidency, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses election officials in Tehran, Jan. 21, 2016.
    • Iranian voters, left, arrive at a polling station to vote for their country's parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections as election staff receive them in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian woman casts her ballot during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, which has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani votes in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • An Iranian woman displays her ink-stained finger after voting in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iran's former Parliament speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri fills in his ballot during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranians vote in the parliamentary and Experts Assembly elections at a polling station in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Feb. 26, 2016.
    • Iranian former vice president and candidate for parliamentary election Mohammad Reza Aref and his wife show their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots during elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2016.

    Election test of nuclear deal

    The vote was the first election since the country's nuclear deal with world powers took effect.

    The final results may provide the first clue as to whether key Western proponents of the deal will receive what they hoped for: a more open, moderate Iran.

    The outcome could be interpreted as a comment on the level of support for the policies of Rouhani, who is up for re-election next year. Rouhani has made the nuclear agreement a key objective of his administration.

    Large turnout

    Newspapers reported a huge turnout at the polls Friday, including many young voters.

    Polls remained open much later than scheduled, in some cases. State television showed long lines both in Tehran and in polling places around the country.

    About 55 million Iranians were registered to cast ballots for members of the conservative dominated 290-seat parliament as well as the 88-member Assembly of Experts.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alex from: USA
    February 29, 2016 10:20 AM
    This is Islamic style democracy which endorses only terrorism activities and the destruction of Jewish State.

    by: Baba from: islamabad
    February 28, 2016 11:44 PM
    a pleasant restart after long spell of negative attitude developed by so called narrow minded conservators still pushing the nation in dark age. Hope the new intake help to free the confined leadership and the activists jailed by Ahmed Nayad.

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