Iranians vote in contest likely to shape post-sanctions era

TEHRAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Iranians voted in two crucial elections on Friday, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urging a big turnout in order to frustrate Tehran’s foes, a remark reflecting the Islamic Republic’s traditionally anti-Western policies. The vote, Iran’s first since last year’s nuclear deal with world powers, could determine whether the Islamic Republic continues to emerge from diplomatic and economic isolation after years of sanctions. The contest is for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, a body that has the power to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, Iran’s most powerful figure. Both are currently in the hands of hardliners. Supporters of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the nuclear deal and is likely to seek a second presidential term next year, are pitted against conservatives deeply opposed to detente with Western powers.



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