Iranians were voting for a new parliament on Friday, with turnout seen as a key measure of support for Iran’s leadership as sanctions weigh on the economy and isolate the country diplomatically.
The disqualification of more than 7,000 potential candidates, most of them reformists and moderates, raised the possibility of lower-than-usual turnout.
Iran’s leadership and state media urged voter participation, with some framing it as a religious duty.
On the eve of the vote, the US Trump administration imposed sanctions on two senior officials of the Guardian Council, including its chief, and three members of its elections supervisory committee.
US officials said those targeted were responsible for silencing the voice of the Iranian people by rejecting more than 7,000 candidates.
Around 7,000 candidates left in the race after the disqualifications are running in 208 constituencies for the 290-seat chamber.
The election is being held at a time of growing economic hardship.
Iranians have seen the price of basic goods skyrocket, inflation and unemployment rise and the local currency plummet since US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers and imposed sanctions.
The parliament in Iran does not have power to dictate major policies, but it does debate the annual budget and the possible impeachment of ministers.
Initial results are expected to be announced on Saturday.
Presidential elections are expected to take place in 2021.
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