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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Iranians Vote for a New President, however Temper is Pessimistic

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TEHRAN — The road exterior the Tehran polling station was brief and sedate on Friday morning, nothing just like the raucous down-the-block crowd that often seems for presidential elections in Iran.

However when Abdolnasser Hemmati, the average within the race, confirmed as much as vote, the sidewalk exterior the polling station, arrange on the Hosseinieh Ershad spiritual institute, instantly crackled to life.

“Your views are ineffective for this nation,” one heckler shouted at Mr. Hemmati, the previous governor of Iran’s central financial institution, holding up his cellphone to immortalize the second.

“You’re the hope of our nation,” a girl yelled to the candidate, making an attempt to drown out the heckler.

Iran’s presidential race has been marked, greater than anything, by an absence of curiosity: Many citizens mentioned they might not trouble to solid ballots in an election that they really feel has been manipulated in favor of the hard-line conservative candidate, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s judiciary chief, who’s near the supreme chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Even when they’d extra alternative within the matter, earlier elections all ended the identical manner regardless of the winner, many Tehran residents mentioned — with costs and rents taking pictures up, employment falling and pessimism taking maintain.

The traces of voters at a number of polling websites throughout the capital on Friday had been a lot shorter than in earlier presidential election years, although the continuing coronavirus pandemic additionally doubtless affected turnout. The Iranian information media reported that as of 5 p.m. voter participation was at 23 %.

Beneath that listless floor, nonetheless, is a rustic churning with rage and hope, bitterness and religion.

A few of those that leaned liberal couldn’t fairly bear to close themselves out of the vote, at the same time as their buddies or kinfolk boycotted it to protest the system.

“We didn’t vote due to Hemmati himself,” mentioned Milad, 34, a financial institution worker who got here to the Hosseinieh Ershad polling station to vote for Mr. Hemmati. Many citizens refused to provide full names out of concern of talking overtly about politics. “We voted as a result of we wished to point out the opposite aspect that there’s nonetheless a voice of opposition in Iran. A weak voice of opposition is healthier than no voice in any respect.”

Voters on either side agreed, broadly talking, on the largest points dealing with the nation: corruption, financial mismanagement and the U.S. sanctions which might be intensifying Iran’s financial distress.

But when the average opposition was divided over whether or not to vote, the conservatives who confirmed as much as solid ballots had been united behind Mr. Raisi and, extra necessary, the Islamic authorities his candidacy had come to face for. (Mr. Raisi’s marketing campaign posters usually characteristic him alongside Ayatollah Khamenei and Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian commander whose loss of life in a U.S. airstrike final yr introduced crowds of mourners onto the streets.)

“Regardless of all of the shortages and shortcomings, we love our nation, and we’ll defend it to the final drop of blood,” mentioned Marziyeh Gorji, 34, who works in a authorities workplace and mentioned she had voted for Mr. Raisi due to his ties to revolutionary figures and his expertise. “The persons are upset, I perceive that. However not voting is just not the answer.”

She motioned to her 5-year-old twin sons, who wore buttons that includes Normal Suleimani’s face. “I’ll elevate them to be like Normal Suleimani,” she mentioned.

At Lozdeh mosque in south Tehran, a poor and religiously conservative neighborhood, Muhammad Ehsani, 61, a retired authorities worker, mentioned his poll was an expression of religion within the beliefs of the Islamic revolution that introduced Iran’s present management to energy.

Being a citizen was like using a bus, he mentioned. If issues weren’t going effectively — as each voter agreed they weren’t — the issue was with the motive force, not with the bus.

“What ought to we do?” he mentioned. “It’s not logical to take a seat at house and never get on. It’s logical to get one other firm, one other driver.”

Draped throughout the doorway of the mosque was a banner with an image of Normal Suleimani subsequent to the phrases, “The Islamic Republic is taken into account a shrine. Those that are voting are defending the shrine.”

The morning’s voting was marred by widespread reviews of digital voting methods malfunctioning and going offline from polling stations throughout Iran, in response to Tasnim information company, which is affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. As polls opened Friday morning, voters confirmed as much as hear that they might not vote, and a number of polling stations needed to delay their opening by greater than an hour, Tasnim reported.

“That is an epidemic of poll packing containers malfunctioning now,” mentioned Kian Abdollahi, Tasnim’s editor in chief, throughout a stay election report on Clubhouse, the audio-only social media app. “That is unacceptable given issues about low election turnout.”

Tehran’s governor confirmed that there have been technical issues with digital voting methods at 79 polling stations throughout the capital.

It was not instantly clear what had brought on the issues.

Outdoors the Hosseinieh Ershad polling station, Shabna, 40, a authorities worker who works in info know-how and likewise gave only one title, was alternately throwing her fist within the air as she chanted “I assist Hemmati” and tugging her colourful head scarf, which was slipping amid all the thrill, again into place.

“We wish to cease this engineered election,” she mentioned, explaining that she believed Mr. Hemmati, as an economist, was finest certified to show the financial system round. A minute later, she was locked in an argument with a Hemmati critic.

However most voters interviewed on Friday didn’t appear to have such robust views about any specific candidate. They had been there to vote as a result of they at all times had, or as a result of they believed within the system.

Efat Rahmati, 54, a nurse, mentioned it was unusual that the Iranian authorities had excluded so many candidates from the race, a indisputable fact that many Iranians mentioned had paved the way in which for Mr. Raisi to win. However she had nonetheless determined to vote, partly out of a private liking for Mr. Raisi, and partly as a result of the authorities “have extra data than me about this difficulty,” she mentioned. “I feel Raisi was higher than the remainder anyway.”

Farnaz Fassihi contributed reporting from New York.

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