Millions of people in Iran voted on Friday for a new president. They were urged on by their Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to vote in force so they could discredit suggestions made by the United States of an unfair election.
Six candidates are on the ballot to be chosen by the 50 million voters who are eligible to vote to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the standing president. However, none of the six is seen as challenging to the 34-year old clerical rule of the Islamic Republic.
The first poll involving the president since the 2009 disputed vote led to unrest in the country for months, will not likely change the uneasy ties between the Western countries and the OPEC member nation of more than 75 million.
However, it might bring less of an antagonistic style that Ahmadinejad favored with the West.
Khamenei, while voting in the country’s capital of Tehran called on all Iranians to vote deriding the misgivings of the West about the vote’s credibility.
John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State questioned the election’s credibility on May 24, criticizing officials decisions to disqualify candidates and accusing the government of disrupting access to Internet.
All of the contenders for the presidency still on the ballot except Saeed Jalili, the current nuclear negotiator, have criticized how diplomacy has been conducted which has left the country more and more isolated and under the grip of economic sanctions.
The state body in charge of vetting the candidates, the Guardian Council, barred a number of hopefuls from appearing on the ballot, notably Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani a former president and one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic.