Iran's vote 'grossly unfair' - Human Rights Watch

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Iran's vote 'grossly unfair' - Human Rights Watch

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Iran is on the eve of the first national election since 2009, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was returned to the presidency sparking a violent reaction to the disputed result.

They are choosing a new parliament in Iran, but many younger Iranians say they will not bother.

Leading reformists have also boycotted the election.

Even so, the Interior Minister, Mohammad Najar, painted a more positive picture, saying: “There is active participation. Based on polls and our information, we expect to see wholehearted participation and an even more exciting election than before.”

In a country where two-thirds of the population are under the age of 30, the youth vote is more important than ever. But they appear to have little appetite.

Language student Marjan Shams, who is 24, said: “I won’t vote, and from what I see around me, no-one will.”

Another student added: “I’ve decided not to. I have no interest in taking part in these elections. I voted once, that was in 2009. But this time I’ve got no interest in participating.”

The election is a contest between allies of President Ahmadinejad and those loyal to the Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

In Qom, 27-year-old Nader Mahmoudy, an Islam scholar and cleric, said: “We will definitely obey the request of the supreme leadership, who has said everyone must vote.”

Human Rights Watch called it grossly unfair, saying hundreds of potential candidates had been disqualified from running, and opposition leaders either banned or unjustly imprisoned.