RNA - The US on Thursday sanctioned five members of Iran's Guardian Council, including Secretary Ahmad Jannati, over allegations that they are impeding fair elections in the country.
The US Treasury said that it had designated Ahmad Jannati, Abbas Ali Kadkhodayee, Siamak Rahpeyk, Mohammad Hasan Sadeghi Moghadam and Mohammad Yazdi—all members of the Guardian Council and its Elections Supervision Committee.
Speaking to the reporters on Friday, Kadkhodayee noted that the US United States has always been hostile towards Iranians and has kept threatening the nation over the past years.
"This is an honor for us, and in the words of Martyr Beheshti, the US is angry because it has been pushed out of Iran," he added.
"Today, Iranian people will give a strong response to the US arrogant government at the casting ballot," Kadkhodayee said.
Iranians headed to the polls to elect 290 members of Majlis (the parliament) and 7 members of the Assembly of Experts in its midterm elections on Friday morning.
Voting started at 8 a.m. local time (0430GMT) and will continue till 6 p.m. (1430GMT). Officials will extend the voting time if faced with long ques of voters at the polling stations.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had announced last Saturday that 54,611 polling stations across the country would open on Friday in 208 electoral regions, saying the ballot papers have been designed with 10 security indices to prevent any fraud.
According to the interior minister, there are 57,918,159 eligible voters in the parliamentary elections on Friday, including around 3 million people eligible to vote for the first time.
According to Fars News Agency, Law Enforcement Police forces and (Basij) voluntary forces have been entrusted with establishment of security in different cities and towns during elections hours.
Last Tuesday, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei called on people to go to the polls.
"Elections are a source for strengthening the country. Look at how US propaganda seeks to separate the people from the Islamic system. They create think tanks to plot this. They seek to distance the Iranian youth from the Islamic system, but they won’t succeed," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing a large number of Iranian people from East Azarbaijan province in Tehran.
"Enemies and friends are watching. Enemies want to see the result of these economic problems, the Westerners’ deceit in their promises to us, and the US pressures on the people. Our friends watch worriedly, but we always tell them not to worry. The Iranian nation knows what it’s doing," he said.
"Taking part in the elections nullifies many of the vicious plots of the US and the Zionist regime against Iran. These elections repel the schemes and ploys of the enemies of Iran," Ayatollah Khamenei added.
"Iran should become stronger; this frustrates the enemy. One manifestation of strength is having a strong Majlis. The more participation there is in the election, the stronger the Majlis will be. This is one factor for strengthening the Majlis," he continued.