Bahram Qassemi

Spokesman hails massive turnout of Iranian expats in presidential election

IRNA – Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Bahram Qasemi said that Iranian expatriates, the youth and university students in particular, have made a huge turnout in the 12th presidential election worldwide.

Speaking to IRNA, Qasemi said that the students and the youth had a massive and positive participation in the presidential election.

According to the reports coming from the Iranian missions in the Asian and Pacific countries where the voting has started earlier due to different time zones, people’s participation was unprecedented, the spokesman added.

Referring to people’s role in reinforcing Iran’s regional and international status, Qasemi said that the country relies on its people for its security.

People have proved their loyalty to the Islamic Republic by attending various political, social, cultural and economic fields, the official added.

He said that people’s support can elevate Iran’s position at the regional and international arenas.

The ongoing election is a turning-point for the Iranian nation’s move towards the future, Qasemi added.

He pointed to the removal of parts of anti-Iran sanctions after the landmark nuclear deal and expressed hope that Iranians would continue their move towards economic development.

People’s vigilance and their presence in the elections can promote the country’s security and satiability, the spokesman said while pointing to the ongoing turmoil in the region.

Qasemi noted that the nation will teach the foreign powers that the Iranian nation is supportive of their country’s independence and sovereignty.

Polling stations are open from 8am until 6pm local time (3:30am to 1:30pm GMT) although authorities have announced that the country’s 63,500 polling stations could extend their voting time if necessary.

In addition to the 12th presidential election and the fifth city and village councils election, by-election is also being held in the cities of Isfahan (in Isfahan province), Maragheh, Ahar, Heris (in East Azarbaijan province), Ajabshir, Bastak, Parsian and Bandar Lengeh (in Hormuzgan province ) to elect representatives for four vacant parliament seats.

The four candidates running in the presidential competition are incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, the Custodian of Imam Reza (AS) Holy Shrine Ebrahim Raeisi and former minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mostafa Aqa Mirsalim and former Minister of Physical Education Mostafa Hashemi Taba.

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri and Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf were other presidential candidates who quitted the presidential race to support their favorite candidates (Rouhani and Raeisi, respectively).

Over 56 million Iranians are eligible to vote in Iran’s 12th presidential elections, according to the Election Headquarters of the Interior Ministry.

Out of the total eligible voters over 1.3 million are those who vote for the first time.

Some 66.7 percent of respondents to a survey carried out by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on May 7-8 said they will participate in Iran’s May 19 presidential elections.

Some 570 international journalists from 42 countries are covering the event in Iran.