The spokesperson of Iran's interior ministry has said that there are many "reports of violations" in Friday's general elections. But he added that such reports do not necessarily mean that violations have been made.
President Hassan Rouhani's campaign has called on his supporters to "ignore news reports and rumours on the election of any of the candidates until the official results are anounced," Iran's Irna News agency reported, adding that the campaign will announce any plans to celebrate in the case Rouhani wins elections after the official results.
This comes as the local media quoted the head of the electoral body of Tehran as saying that more than 70 percent of voters took part in the elections. Similar figures have been reported elsewhere in the country, including in the Kurdish province of Kermanshah where the provincial electoral body reported that more than 1 million people cast their vote, constituting a figure higher than 70 percent.
40 million voters reportedly turned out
Iran's Fars News Agency has reported a high turnout of 40 million voters in Friday's elections, citing reports and figures from the country's electoral body.
More than 56 million people were eligible to vote.
Meanwhile, Kaleme, an outlet close to the Green Movement, reported that Mir Hussein Mousavi, the 2009 presidential candidate who has remained under house arrest since the election that year as he contested the results, and his wife Zahra Rahnavard cast their votes in the last minutes of the election as a mobile voting station visited their residence.
Polls close, vote counting begins
Polls have closed in Iran's general elections, Rudaw's correspondent from Tehran reported. The interior ministry had earlier said that it is not permitted by law to extend the vote beyond midnight local time, adding that the vote counts begins immediately in voting stations.
In previous elections it often takes days for the initial vote counts to emerge with the official results being announced at a later date.
Voting to continue until midnight
Rudaw's Sangar Abdulrahman reported from Tehran that there are now instructions to keep the polls open until midnight, as permitted by law.
Interior Minister Abdulraza Rahmani Fazili talking to the state media apologized for the long queues and voting delays. He added that there could be no extension beyond midnight.
The parliament speaker Ali Larijani has said that all candidates have to accept the results of the elections.
Mahdi Karoubi, a former candidate for the presidential elections in 2009, who has been under the house arrest since the contested results of the elections that year, is said to have cast his vote, Iranian media reported.
Extended again, polls to remain open until 10 p.m.
Iran's Election Authority has announced another two-hour extension voting. Polls will remain open until 10 p.m. (local time) — four hours later than originally planned.
Iran Election Authority: Special counting methods to be used for misspelled on ballots
Aliriza Nilchi, the head of the elections affairs from the Guardian Council that oversees the Iranian general elections, has confirmed that the names of the candidates in some voting station have been misspelled, according to Irna News Agency.
He said that in cases where the first name or the family name of a candidate is apparent on the ballot, the votes will be valid. For example a ballot with the name Rouhani or Hassan, will be counted for Hassan Rouhani.
In one case where the ballot has the name of Mustafa or Sayid Mustafa, it would be divided proportionately between the two conservative candidates Sayid Mustafa Aqha Mir-Salim and Sayid Mustafa Hashmi Taba.
British police station themselves between voters, protesters
Police in London have created a buffer between Iranians who want to practice their right to vote for the country’s general election, and those who accuse the Iranian government of dictatorship and a violator of human rights.
There are five voting stations in London.
Polls to stay open 2 hours later
Iranian interior ministry which runs the Iranian election has extended the voting by two hours. The polls opened at 8 in the morning local time and were supposed to close at 6 in the evening.
A man registers to cast his ballot at a polling station in Tehran on Friday. Photo: Behrouz Mehri | AFP
Rouhani: Whoever wins should receive all of the nation’s support
TEHRAN, Iran — Polls opened at 8 a.m. local time across Iran in the first round of a high-stake presidential election that is being closely watched by the international community.
Elections for city and provincial offices in Iran will also take place simultaneously with the presidential vote.
Incumbent president Hasan Rouhani, 68, faces three conservative opponents including main rival Ebrahim Raisi, 56, who is also widely predicted to replace the ageing Khameniei, 77, as the country’s supreme leader.
Rouhani said whomever elected as president should receive all of the nation’s support.
“Any candidate who is elected should be helped to accomplish this heavy responsibility,” Rouhani said after casting his vote. “Anyone who is elected must be helped from tomorrow with unity, happiness and joy.”
President Rouhani said last week that Iranian voters must choose between peace or tension as they head to the polls.
"This Friday our nation will announce whether it wants to continue the path of peacefulness or path of tension,” Rouhani said on Saturday.
President Rouhani has repeatedly said that his rival candidates want to scrap Iran’s landmark nuclear deal with western powers, an achievement the Iranian president had called one of his most significant achievements during his term in office.
All other three candidates, including the frontrunner Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative leader, has said they are committed to the deal.
Raisi told reporters in Southern Tehran as he voted that every candidate should respect the results.
"All candidates, whether they are running for city council, presidential, or any other elections, should fully surrender to the results, because the mechanics are reliable, and possible violations or problems could be investigated later."
Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative and with close ties with the country's Supreme Leader, gestures after casting his ballot for the presidential elections at a polling station in southern Tehran. Photo: Atta Kenare | AFP
If no-one wins more than 50% of votes cast, a run-off will be held next week.
More than 56 million voters are registered to vote in 63,500 polling stations amid high expectation of large turnout, according to the interior ministry.
“My recommendation to the people is that that they participate in the elections in larger numbers. The sooner they go to polling stations [the better].” said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Friday after casting his vote in a mobile polling station in Jamaran, Tehran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei casts his vote in a mobile polling station in Tehran. Photo: AFP/HO/Iranian Supreme Leader's website.
Every incumbent president has been re-elected in Iran since 1985, when Ayatollah Khamenei himself won a second term.
President Rouhani became the first presidential candidate to vote in the elections, in a Tehran voting station. It is the first time the voters head to the polls since the country signed the nuclear deal with the western powers. He has described the deal as the most significant achievement of his first term in office.
Large turnout in the past elections have statistically favoured moderate contenders as many of the first-time voters in the country tend to support reformist candidates since the establishment of the new Iran in 1979 following its ground-breaking Islamic Revolution.
No official opinion polls have been carried out but most analysts predict a neck-and-neck race between Rouhani and Raisi who are equally expected to win the votes of moderate forces and so-called hardliners respectively.
Rouhani is predicted to secure the support of young voters in urban areas, in large cities such as Tehran, Esfahan and Shiraz where historically reformist candidates have won legislative offices in city and provincial councils.
He is also widely expected to win the support of the Kurdish and Sunni groups in west and eastern Iran where large portions of the disfranchised population see the ascendence of Raisi to power as a return to more centralised power at the hands of the Shiite clergy.
“As the young people anywhere in the world, of course we want to elect a president who cares about our aspirations and leads the country towards prosperity,” a young Kurdish supporter of Rouhani in Tehran told Rudaw.
“I think this has been one of the best elections campaigns we have seen over the past decades,” said another supporter. “We really don’t want to be back where we were 8 years ago when it was the worst period of our life,” she added.
Deadly riots broke out in June 2009 following a contested election that helped the then incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to remain in office despite wide protests across the country which were eventually quelled.
Iran’s interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli has said the results of the country’s upcoming presidential election will be announced all at once on Friday, and not at different stages.
Iranian voters abroad are eligible to cast their voters. The voters in Canada, where there is a large number of Iranian community, have to head to the United States as Iran does not have a diplomatic mission in Canada.
In Kurdistan Region there are a number of voting stations in Iran's consulates in Erbil and Sulaimani. Mobile voting stations have also been set up as they move to different cities at different times around the day and Kurdistan's prisons.