Polls have officially opened in Iran for presidential, and city and rural council elections with nearly 50.5 million people eligible to vote.
The Iranians began casting their ballots at 8:00 am (0330 GMT) on Friday with the polls scheduled to remain open for ten hours. The time can be extended if necessary. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei cast his ballot minutes into the polls.
More than 1.6 million of those eligible to vote are first-time voters.
Over 60,000 polling stations have been set up across the country, while Iranian nationals abroad will also be also able to vote at 285 overseas polling stations.
Vote counting will begin at the polling stations immediately after the voting ends. Voting may be extended if the Interior Ministry sees necessary.
Opinion polls show the presidential election is headed for a runoff. They also predict a 60-percent turnout in the polls.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.
Six candidates, namely President of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Hassan Rohani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi are running in the presidential election.
Former Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel and former First Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref withdrew their candidacies on Monday.
Over 200,000 candidates are also running for city and rural council elections.