Iran votes in first key elections since nuke deal

Feb 26, 2016, 4:07 AM EST
Iran President Hassan Rouhani.
Source: World Economic Forum/flickr

Millions of Iranians are voting in two key elections - the first since a deal with world powers over Iran's nuclear programme and the lifting of sanctions.

The BBC reports:

Voters are choosing a new parliament and Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that appoints the Supreme Leader. Reformists are hoping to increase their influence in both institutions, which have been dominated by conservatives. The result could affect reformist President Hassan Rouhani's chances of re-election in 2017.

Reuters writes:

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who led nuclear talks with world powers, said while voting at a polling station at the Jamaran mosque in northern Tehran that Iranians would continue to support policies that brought about the nuclear deal. "The message to the international community from this election is the Iranians are solidly behind their government," he said. "They will continue to support the policies that have been adopted leading to the conclusion and successful implementation of the nuclear deal and this will continue." "Whatever the choice of the Iranian people, it will be respected," he said.Both sides have called for a strong turnout. Most reformist candidates have been barred by a hardline clerical vetting body, along with many moderates, but their supporters have called on voters to back Rouhani's allies and keep the conservatives out. Results are hard to predict, with conservatives traditionally doing well in rural areas and young urbanites favouring more reformist candidates.