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Survey: Vast Majority of Iranians Want to Elect Supreme Leader


A new opinion poll suggests the vast majority of Iranians want to directly elect their supreme leader and be able to replace him.

The survey, released Sunday, was carried out last month by a U.S. non-profit group, Terror Free Tomorrow and an international polling company, D3 Systems, Incorporated.

The poll found that almost nine out of 10 Iranian respondents want the country's top political position to be accountable to voters.

Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has held the post since 1989. A panel of Iranian religious scholars elected every eight years has the power to dismiss him, but the post has essentially become a lifetime job.

Terror Free Tomorrow president Kenneth Ballen says the survey also shows Iranians are not enthusiastic about the candidates for next Friday's parliamentary elections.

Iranian conservatives are expected to win the vote, in part because hundreds of reformist candidates were disqualified from running.

More than three-quarters of Iranians polled said they favor normal relations and trade with the United States. But, the survey also shows respondents are less supportive of concessions to the West than they were in the same poll in 2007.

The pollsters say they questioned more than 1,000 Iranians by telephone from within the region.