May 25, 2017 0458 GMT
Iran’s interior minister said the results of the country’s upcoming presidential elections will be announced all at once, and not at different stages.
Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli made the remarks in a televised interview on Tuesday, saying this has been enshrined in Iran’s Presidential Election Law, Press TV reported.
Given that some candidates have abandoned their bids and some alliances have been formed to strengthen certain campaigns, it is estimated that the polls would not head into a second round, he added.
The electorate will head to the polls on Friday to choose among incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of Imam Reza’s (PBUH) holy shrine, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, a current member of Iran’s Expedience Council, and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, a former vice president.
Iranians will also choose members of Iran’s City and Village Councils in separate elections on the same day.
On Tuesday, Es’haq Jahangiri, the Iranian first vice president and presidential candidate, dropped out of the race to support Rouhani.
Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf had done so earlier in favor of Raeisi.
“We are well prepared to hold the elections and have no concerns in the area,” Rahmani-Fazli asserted.
The interior minister said that voters can cast their ballots at more than 63,000 stations, and that about 1.5 million staffers, 70,000 monitors and 350,000 security enforcement personnel will be assisting with the election process.
The candidates are also allowed to assign a representative to each polling station to observe the proceedings there.
As many as 200 million ballots have been printed by Iran’s Bank Melli, using the type of paper used in printing out traveler’s checks, he said.
The official added that the ballot papers bear 14 types of codes and, therefore, cannot be either independently produced or copied.
“The ballot papers are now quarantined,” Rahmani-Fazli said, and hoped that such measures would help avoid any voting irregularities.
The number of security forces can be enhanced if need be, said Rahmani-Fazli, giving assurances that the authorities are closely monitoring the circumstances.
Wednesday, he said, marks the last day of campaigning, adding that any more electioneering would be considered illegal as of Thursday morning, urging the candidates to abide by the rules.
The voting is to begin at 08:00 a.m. local time (03:30 a.m. GMT) on Friday, according to Rahmani-Fazli.
"Illegal" opinion polls
“As long as people turn up at the ballot boxes and are not legally prohibited from voting, we are going to be at their service,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said 95 percent of opinion polls predicting the outcome of the elections do not follow any rules, and are illegal and fictitious, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Rahmani-Fazli called on journalists, the candidates’ campaign members, and organizations to ignore rumors about popularity of the candidates in surveys, which he said are spread as part of a “psychological war”.
"At the present time, various opinion polls are being released in public spaces and in the news, more than ninety-five percent of which are illegal, inauthentic, and fully fabricated,” he said.
Foreign reporters in Iran
Around 500 journalists working for the news media of 42 countries will cover the elections, the Culture Ministry said in statement on Wednesday.
The ministry said that the foreign reporters will represent media outlets from countries like Azerbaijan, Albania, Austria, Spain, Australia, Slovenia, Germany, the US, Britain, Italy, Turkey, China, Russia, Japan, France, North Korea, South Korea, Oman and Lebanon.
It further said the country has so far issued visas for 252 reporters from 29 countries, showing a 35 percent rise in comparison with the previous presidential polls four years ago.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the significance of the elections in the country, calling on all Iranians living abroad and at home to participate in the landmark event.
“I would call on all Iranians living both outside and inside of the country to go to the polls on Friday,” Zarif said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Friday’s elections will determine our future and make it clear that the Iranian people will choose the path of progress, development, and solidarity…,” the top diplomat added.
He further emphasized that the vote of every citizen is important and will have an impact on the country’s future, making assurances that the Islamic Republic will safeguard the votes.