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Iran's Supreme leader calls for 'maximum' turnout in Jun. 28 presidential polls

Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gestures in a ceremony to mark the Shiite holiday of Eid al-Ghadir, in Tehran, Iran, on June 25, 2024   -  
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Iran is poised to elect a new president on June 28. Speaking in Teheran, supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Tuesday (Jun. 25) for “maximum” voter turnout.

Six candidates are vying for the presidency after Ebrahim Raisi died in a plane crash in May.

"The Islamic Republic has enemies," the 85-year-old leader said. "One thing that helps the Islamic Republic overcome its enemies is the elections. If a good turnout is seen in these elections, then it will make the Islamic Republic proud."

Khamenei's comments in his hour-long speech drew repeated cries of “Death to America, Death to hypocrites and infidels"” from a crowd gathered to mark the Shiite holiday of Eid al-Ghadir.

He also denounced politicians who he described as believing that everything good comes from the United States.

While not naming any particular candidates, the comments by the Supreme Leader could undercut the candidacy of the race's of 69-year-old heart surgeon Masoud Pezeshkian who is presenetd as the sole reformist.

In recent speeches, Pezeshkian has urged Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and increase its outreach to the West.

Iran's president is elected for a four-year term.

Khamenei's call comes after a parliamentary election earlier this year saw a record low turnout.

Iranians endure the consequences of Western sanctions that have crushed the nation's economy.

There have been widespread anti-government protests in recent years, particularly after the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, with women refusing to wear the country's mandatory headscarf, or hijab.

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