Iran’s Khamenei votes in election seen as test for clerical leadership

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was the first to vote as Iran started its parliamentary elections on Friday, March 1, in what is viewed as a critical assessment of the clerical establishment’s support amid escalating economic difficulties and limitations on political and social freedoms.

State television reported that polls opened at 8 a.m. (0430 GMT) and are scheduled to close after 10 hours, with the possibility of an extension.

With the majority of ballots being counted manually, official results may not be disclosed for three days, although preliminary outcomes could be released as early as Saturday, March 2.

This election marks the first gauge of public sentiment following the anti-government demonstrations in 2022-23, which escalated into some of the most severe political unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Iranian leadership seeks a high voter turnout to mend its credibility, which was tarnished by widespread protests.