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Iranian vote in parliamentary election, first since 2009

Iranian vote in parliamentary election, first since 2009
Iranian vote in parliamentary election, first since 2009

Iranians voted Friday in the country’s first election since the disputed presidential contest of 2009 sparked mass protests.

About 48 million Iranians were eligible to cast ballots for more than 3,400 candidates. 290 members are to be elected to the parliament, known as the Majlis.

Voting was extended until 8 PM local time due to high turnout, the Interior Ministry said.

Iran’s leader and other top officials had called in recent days for high voter turnout as a way to show defiance toward the West at time of extraordinary tension.

“The controversies and verbal threats against the Iranian nation are many,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said after voting in Tehran, according to Fars. “The best thing to do is to accompany talk with action. The more people cast their ballot today, the better it will be for the country.”

The US and European Union apply growing pressure with sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sales and central bank, aiming at preventing it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Escalating tensions have raised the risk of military conflict in a region that holds more than half of the world’s oil, as Iranian officials warn of preemptive or retaliatory strikes.

Iran’s parliament doesn’t directly control foreign policy, and the outcome of the election probably won’t affect the country’s nuclear stance. The opposition movement that challenged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in and after the disputed 2009 presidential election isn’t taking part, narrowing the range of candidates.

Results from small constituencies will be announced 48 hours after polling ends, while in large constituencies such as Tehran it will take 72 hours, the state-run Fars news agency said, citing Solat Mortazavi, head of the election board.