TEHRAN: Iran’s top two presidential candidates launched a final day of election campaigning on Wednesday as the supreme leader called for a massive turnout to bolster the regime. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Iran’s foes would be deterred from pursuing regime change if they saw voters flock to the ballot boxes in Friday’s poll. “American, European officials and those of the regime are watching our elections to see the level of participation,” he said in quotes carried on his Telegram messenger account.
“The Iranian nation has enemies. Faced with the enemy, the people should show its determination and calm,” he said. Turnout is all-important to the Iranian regime, which uses regular elections to demonstrate the legitimacy of its system. But on the campaign trail, two starkly different visions of how that system will evolve have been on display. President Hassan Rouhani defended his international outreach, which included a nuclear deal with world powers that ended many sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran’s atomic programme. — AFP