TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Thursday urged Iranians to ignore calls to boycott next month’s presidential election.
“Dear Iranian nation! Election takes place in one day, but its outcome is there for several years. Participate in the election! Consider the election as belonging to yourselves, because it does belong to you,” he said during a speech to legislators via videoconference, calling on Iranians to participate in the June 18 vote.
“Do not heed the words of these people who propagate that voting is useless, ‘let’s not go- we won’t go to the ballot box.’ These individuals don’t have the people’s interests in mind. Anyone who does would never ask people not to go to the ballot box,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
Members of terrorist groups outside the country have been running social media campaigns urging people in the country to abstain from voting.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments came two days after the Constitutional Council, a 12-member vetting body, approved seven contenders for the election.
“The respected Constitutional Council did what it had to do and what it deemed necessary to do as its duty, and determined the candidates,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader touched on criticisms directed at the Council, saying the critical statements have been made with different motives.
Some of the statements, the Leader said, were made by people because they had real care for the people and concerns about a low participation in the election, while some sides complained because their favorite candidate had not been approved.
Neither of these two groups can be faulted, Ayatollah Khamenei said. However, a third group is opposing the concept of the Constitutional Council altogether. “God will not have mercy on these people,” the Leader said.
The Leader referred to the concerns about the low participation of the people in the forthcoming election and said he did not believe that people are concerned about names.
“Rather, the people are looking for an individual who has high managerial capabilities and firm will and performance to solve the country’s issues. And it doesn’t matter to people what title that person holds or which party he hails from. Of course, that may be important to the political factions, but not to the general populace,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader thanked all those who nominated to run. “Many of these people undoubtedly entered the scene because they felt a responsibility.”
“I have to doubly thank those whose qualification was not approved and was not ascertained by the Council and who reacted nobly. Some of them even encouraged people to participate in the election.”
The Leader said the fact that the Constitutional Council had not been able to ascertain the qualification of certain candidates did not mean those individuals were not qualified.
“They may even be highly qualified,”
the Leader said, adding what the disqualification meant was that the Council had not been able to determine such a qualification based on its own recognition, reports, and the available tools.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the election is a race to serve the people, urging the candidates to view the election as such.
He also advised the candidates to refrain from mud-slinging and leveling accusations against others, or making unfeasible pledges.
“Moral considerations should seriously be taken into account. If the candidates really observe Islamic ethics in the debates and in the interviews that they give, this will spread over to the society,” the Leader said.
The Leader also advised the candidates against attempting to break some taboos.
“To be seen and heard more, certain parties come up with the solution of breaking customs, ‘violating the red lines of the establishment’ — as they would say themselves. The Islamic Republic is firmly in place and is there to stay; it is an establishment that has been settled in place; the main contours of the establishment are clear. People should not attempt to somehow earn themselves a position by violating the important boundaries of the Islamic Republic. No status will be earned that way,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader said virtual space and foreign policy were not the immediate concerns of the people.
“Presently, the main and the urgent issue of the country is the economy, and the candidates should present their plans to solve the economic issues to the people and convince them that they can resolve those problems.”