Zarif: Iranians in Canada can go to US for May 19 vote

MNA – Iran’s FM Zarif said Canada has refused to allow polling stations for Iranian expats wishing to vote for the upcoming presidential election on May 19, adding they can go to US instead to cast a ballot.“Unfortunately, Canada has a certain set of regulations that foreign countries need to set up their polling stations at their diplomatic missions in that country. Iran does not have a diplomatic presence in Canada, therefore Iranian expatriates cannot cast a ballot there,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.

The final announcement came after Zarif held a telephone conversation with his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland in regard to settling this issue. Zarif had stressed that Iranians abroad are keenly eager to have a say in the future of their country by taking part in presidential elections, while FM Freeland had assured that Canada is well-aware of the significance of the presidential election for the Iranian residents.

The two countries severed relations in 2012, and while a political delegation from Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently in Iran for the first time since the Harper government closed the Canadian Embassy, and the move is a further indication of the continuing thaw in relations, the request for placing polling stations could not be accommodated.

Zarif went on to add, “we have a good situation in the US for the upcoming election and many ballot boxes are set to be placed throughout the country. Therefore, Iranian nationals in Canada can go to the closest city to their residence for casting a ballot in the US in the May 19 vote.”