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AFP
February 19, 2020

Iran supreme leader says voting is ‘religious duty’

World

AFP
February 19, 2020

TEHRAN: Iran´s supreme leader said Tuesday it is a "religious duty" for people to vote in this week´s general election and strengthen the Islamic republic against the "propaganda" of its enemies.

"Participating in elections and voting... is a religious duty, not just a national or revolutionary duty," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech, parts of which were aired on state television. "Elections nullify many of the vicious plots the Americans have in their minds and Zionists have in their hearts against the country," he said, referring to US ally Israel.

Iranians are set to elect a new parliament on Friday, with conservatives expected to make a resurgence. Observers expect a low turnout as many reformist and moderate candidates have been barred from running by the Guardian Council.

The council, made up of six clerics appointed by the supreme leader and six lawyers selected by the judiciary, disqualified more than half of the 14,444 hopefuls. The move threatens the thin majority of President Hassan Rouhani´s alliance in parliament. Friday´s election comes after months of domestic turmoil and steeply escalating tensions between Iran and its arch enemy the United States. In November, nationwide demonstrations over petrol price hikes turned violent before being crushed in a deadly crackdown.