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AFP
February 18, 2020

Disgruntled Iranians say they’ll boycott poll

World

AFP
February 18, 2020

TEHRAN: Many Iranians, battered by economic sanctions, political turmoil and the lingering threat of military conflict, say they are in no mood to vote in general elections this week.

Speaking of heavy hearts and a sense of bitterness, Tehranis complain they are tired of politicians who have failed to keep their word or to raise living standards. "No way! There’s no way we are going to vote!" 62-year-old Pari said under the gaze of her daughter who also intends to boycott the parliamentary polls on Friday because she no longer trusts politicians. "It’s difficult for everyone in Iran nowadays. We’re fed up. We want to send a message that we’re not satisfied with the situation," the mother added.

President Hassan Rouhani, re-elected in 2017, promised more social and individual freedoms and gave assurances that Iranians would be able to benefit from the fruits of engagement with the West. But many people feel their lives have been crippled by the economic slump and exacerbated by harsh US sanctions since US President Donald Trump in 2018 pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Added to this has been the threat of military conflict as Trump has ramped up a campaign of "maximum pressure" against the Islamic republic. Pari and her daughter Kiana were strolling through Tajrish, one of the capital’s most exclusive neighbourhoods where displays of wealth contrast sharply with extreme poverty. Elegant women in dark glasses steered their SUVs through streets lined with roadside vendors who displayed their wares on the grimy pavement.