Iran humiliation: US fury as Tehran risks coronavirus outbreak eruption in election blow

There was only a 42 percent voting turnout for Friday’s parliamentary election, an incredibly low figure for a vote that was meant to boost the regime’s support. Only conservative candidates were permitted to run in the election in a bid to assist Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in securing an easy win. Voting turnout was at the lowest rate since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Concerns were raised Iran’s coronavirus outbreak was downplayed by the government to boost voting turnout.

Iran now has the biggest death toll outside of China from the virus with eight victims being killed.

Tehran was accused by the US State Department of understating the severity of the outbreak.

However, Mr Khamenei blamed the low turnout on the “negative propaganda” about the new coronavirus.

He said on his official website: “This negative propaganda about the virus began a couple of months ago and grew larger ahead of the election.

“Their media did not miss the tiniest opportunity for dissuading Iranian voters and resorting to the excuse of disease and the virus.”

Iran confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus two days before the polls, with even a district mayor in Tehran testing positive for the disease.

Tehran announced a sudden clampdown after the vote to try and prevent the disease spreading.

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Many public places were closed such as schools, universities, cultural centres and cinemas.

Border closures with Iran and limited transportations were enacted by Turkey, Pakistan, Armenia and Afghanistan.

It was queried as to why Terhran did not postpone the vote because of public health concerns.


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Voters in the central shrine city of Qom were praised by Mr Khamenei for their enthusiasm.

The city appears to be the epicentre of Iran’s outbreak of coronavirus.

Mr Khamenei said: “Although the people of Qom were at the centre of this sickness, one of the busiest electoral constituencies was Qom.”

Tehran originally hesitated over releasing the “official” turnout figure in the vote for the 290-seat assembly.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli told a televised news conference: “The turnout across the country was 42.57 percent.

“In Tehran, it was around 25 percent. Across Iran, over 24 million people voted.”

The voting turnout in the 2018 parliamentary vote was 62 percent and in 2012 66 percent of voters cast a ballot.

This year’s election saw Iran’s authorities ban candidates who were not allies to the regime.

About 7,000 of almost 14,000 candidates were disqualified by the Guardian Council, which assesses who can stand.

The process was branded as a “sham” by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Full results of the election are not yet available, but early figures from Tehran outlined a big win for Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s conservatives.

Mr Qalibaf is a former mayor of Tehran and it is believed he is likely to become the next parliament speaker.

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