Iran upcoming elections: Tehran tells Washington to stay away
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday that US officials are better to speak with caution on the upcoming presidential elections in Iran. Addressing local and foreign reporters at his weekly press conference, Asefi conveyed it seems American officials have become "fortunetellers."
US officials have made such remarks to decrease a massive turnout in the June 17 elections while people are showing enthusiasm to participate in the polling, he noted. According to IRNA, Asefi stated Americans speak with a grudge and ignore realities of the Islamic Republic.
On its part, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized Iran’s "discriminatory" election laws. It said the Guardian Council’s exclusion of candidates prevents Iranian voters from freely electing candidates or standing for public office.
In a 17-page briefing paper Human Rights Watch details how election laws prevent candidates outside the ruling elite from running for high public office. Iran’s Guardian Council, an unelected body of 12 Sh`ia Muslim clerics and religious jurists, had interpreted these laws to exclude all women as well as all candidates whose views are critical of the current leadership.
“Iran’s elections for all practical purposes are pre-cooked,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division. “The Guardian Council appoints a few candidates, and then Iranians get to choose from this very restricted list.”