Iran Presidential elections: Four polling centres in India to facilitate voting

In Iran, if the President dies an unnatural death during his term, the Presidential elections are held within 50 days.
Iraj Elahi, Iran’s Ambassador to India.
Iraj Elahi, Iran’s Ambassador to India.

NEW DELHI: It has been 39 days since Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash on May 19, and Iran is set to host its Presidential elections on Friday, June 28. Four polling centers will be established in India to facilitate Iranians in exercising their mandate.

“We will have four polling stations in India – Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad – to facilitate over 3,000 Iranians living and working in India. These include students as well,” Iraj Elahi, Iran’s Ambassador to India, told this newspaper.

Out of the 400 candidates who registered to contest these elections, Iran’s Ministry of Interior accepted 80 candidatures, and from them, six were shortlisted to contest. Two have since withdrawn, leaving four candidates in the race: the current Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf (Conservative), diplomat Saeed Jalili (Conservative), cleric Mostafa Pourmohammadi (Conservative), and lawmaker Massoud Pezeshkian (Reformist).

Iraj Elahi, Iran’s Ambassador to India.
After Raisi's funeral, focus turns to vote for successor in Iran

“In Iran, the President is elected by the people, so we are urging all Iranians to come out and vote. The results will be declared on June 29. In Iran, if the President dies an unnatural death during his term, the Presidential elections are held within 50 days. We are optimistic that the Iranians in India will come out and vote,” Ambassador Elahi added.

Meanwhile, Iran is the newest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and is looking forward to taking part in the upcoming Summit in Astana.

“India’s role and position in both SCO and BRICS is significant. It is up to India to decide who they send for the Summit. At present, India, Russia, and China have emerged as major powers in the world and will pave the way for a new international order. The world is at a critical point with conflicts raging and economies suffering,” he added.

The Ambassador also spoke about the significance of trade in local currencies and said that India and Iran had traded in local currencies in the past and are likely to resume once a few technical issues are resolved.

“The world today has two options – either to accept sanctions as they are or to look for alternatives. These alternatives include trade in local currencies. The economy is the driver for change, and sanctions have impacted Iran and Russia,” the Ambassador said, adding that India has always supported Iran, including its becoming a member of BRICS.

In a bid to promote people-to-people ties between Iran and India, Iran has removed visa restrictions for Indians, making visas unnecessary. However, India, which had begun an e-visa facility for Iranians, stopped it when COVID-19 broke out. Iran is hoping that e-visa facilities for travel to India will be resumed.

“Indian students have begun to opt for Iran to pursue their medical studies. In order to facilitate more students to travel, there should be more flights between the two nations. There are three direct flights between India and Tehran at present. Even though they are wide-bodied aircraft, there is room for more services between the two nations, which have had historic and cultural ties,” Ambassador Elahi added.

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