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Senior cleric calls for amity to replace competition following Iran elections

Tehran interim Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani addresses worshipers in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on May 19, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

Tehran interim Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani says presidential debates and competition have come to an end, stressing that the time is ripe to start amity.

"From now on, competition must turn into friendship," Movahedi Kermani said in an address to worshipers at the weekly Friday prayers in the Iranian capital.

He also advised the next president to firmly follow up on the guidelines of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and respect the lofty values of the Islamic Revolution.

The next president should serve the Iranian people, have great management capabilities, fully abide by the Constitution, stand up to the enemies and implement the policies of the economy of resistance.

Iran's 12th presidential election and the 5th City and Village Councils Elections started simultaneously at 08:00 a.m. local time (0330 GMT) on Friday at some 63,500 polling stations inside the country and 310 others in 102 countries.

Voters are to choose from the four candidates of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, former deputy judiciary chief, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, member of Iran’s Expediency Council Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, and former vice president, Mostafa Hashemi-Taba. According to Iran's Interior Ministry, around 56.5 million are eligible to vote, of which 1.3 million are first timers.

High turnout thwarts enemies' plots: Larijani

Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the high turnout of the Iranian people in the elections would thwart the enemies' plots.

"In this insecure [Middle East] region, Iran enjoys good security, and the massive participation of the people in the elections will well support the maintenance of this security and will foil the enemies' plots," Larijani told reporters in the holy city of Qom after casting his vote.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani casts his ballot at a polling station in the holy city of Qom on May 19, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

He added that elections have always been important in Iran and are among the main pillars of religious democracy.

The top Iranian parliamentarian said a high turnout of the nation in the elections would result in good achievements for the country and boost national security.

Larijani further expressed hope that after the polls, presidential competition would turn into friendship with the purpose of achieving a developed and advanced Iran.

Iranians real winners of elections: Amoli Larijani

Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said the Iranian people are definitely the real winners of the elections.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran after casting his vote, Amoli Larijani added that the Iranian people's participation in the elections displayed national solidarity and unity and would reinforce the country's security and power.

Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani speaks to reporters after casting his ballot at a polling station in Tehran on May 19, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

It would also thwart plots of the enemies in the region and across the world, he pointed out.

Elections display Iran's might: Velayati

Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said elections would reinforce national unity and display the power of the country and the Islamic establishment.

"Undoubtedly, the religious democracy system in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the most independent country [in the region], will advance all the objectives of Islamic Iran through the public support," the senior Iranian official added.

Despite the enemies' plots, the nation's massive turnout will result in their failure, he said.

Velayati added that the Iranian people were playing a role in determining their future by turning out in the elections.

High turnout another golden page of religious democracy: Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the massive participation of all Iranians inside the country and abroad would mark another golden page in religious democracy.

He added that Iran is displaying this kind of democracy and conveying the best message to the world that only the language of respect must be applied to the Iranian people.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tours the Iranian Interior Ministry's Election Office in Tehran on May 19, 2017. (Photo by IRNA)

The top Iranian diplomat said Iranians have always attached importance to the religious democracy and participated in the elections en masse.

Elections symbol of Iranians' power: Zangeneh

Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said elections are a symbol of the Iranian people's power and convey the Islamic Republic's message of pride and freedom to the world.

"Today is a big day for the Iranian people because they are choosing not only their president, but they are marking another phase of their political development," Zangeneh added.

He emphasized that the Islamic Republic is experiencing the "deepest democracy in the region."

Iran enjoys exemplary security: Nahavandian

Mohammad Nahavandian, the chief of staff of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said the Islamic Republic enjoys exemplary security at a time that the region is experiencing a precarious situation.

"We must be able to contribute to regional security through an active diplomacy," Nahavandian added.

The Iranian official stressed the importance of adopting necessary measures to safeguard the country's security.

Iranians support Islamic establishment's goals: Ja'afari Dolatabadi

Tehran's Prosecutor Abbas Ja'afari Dolatabadi said the Iranian nation's turnout in the elections conveys this message to the US and all enemies that it is standing by the country and supporting its objectives.

He added that the Iranians' presence in the election would strengthen the Islamic establishment.

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