First Iran election after nuclear deal

An Iranian woman shows her inked finger after casting her voteImage copyright

Image caption

The economy has been a key issue for voters in these elections

Millions of Iranians are voting in two key elections – the first since a deal with world powers over Iran’s nuclear programme and the lifting of sanctions.

Voters are choosing a new parliament and Assembly of Experts, a clerical body that appoints the Supreme Leader.

Reformists are hoping to increase their influence in both institutions, which have been dominated by conservatives.

The outcome could affect reformist President Hassan Rouhani’s chances of re-election in 2017.

What is the Assembly of Experts?

Iran elections: Five things to know

Elections highlight divisions

Punchy politics on social media

Image copyright

Image caption

Long lines of people waited to cast their ballots in the twin elections as the polls opened

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a big turnout to “disappoint our enemies”.

“Whoever likes Iran and its dignity, greatness and glory should vote. Iran has enemies. They are eyeing us greedily… People should be observant and vote with open eyes and should vote wisely,” he said after casting his vote.

The parliamentary elections are to choose 290 MPs for four-year terms. About 12,000 potential candidates registered, but only half were cleared to stand by the Guardian Council, a key body loyal to the Supreme Leader. Only about 200 moderate candidates got through the vetting process.

Voters will also select 88 clerics to the Assembly of Experts, who serve eight-year terms.

Members of the new Assembly might end up choosing the successor to Ayatollah Khamenei, who is 76 and has suffered ill-health.

Polls opened at 08:00 (04:30 GMT) and close at 18:00, with some 55 million people eligible to vote. But officials say polling stations could stay open longer if there are queues and more time is needed.

BBC Persian’s Ali Hamedani says the economy has been a key issue in this election. With sanctions lifted and Western investors beginning to return to Iran, there are high hopes for an improvement in daily life, he says.

Reformists and moderates say they are targeting greater foreign investment, which, our correspondent says, will drive jobs for young people.

More than half of Iranians are under 35, but the youth unemployment rate is 25%, more than two and a half times the national average.

However, conservatives say strong economic growth is more likely to come from domestic production in what they describe as a “resistance economy” that draws on the ideals of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Results for the Assembly of Experts are expected over the weekend. The results of the parliamentary election could take longer and it is likely to go to a second round in April as candidates need 25% of the vote to win outright.

Media captionAs Iranians go to the polls, young people tell the BBC what they want for their future.

Are you voting in Iran? What are your thoughts on the election? What issues matter to you? You can email

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

comments powered by Disqus