Iranian presidential election: Jalili and Pizshakyan face run-off vote

image caption, Iranians hold up their papers after voting in Tehran on Friday.

  • the author, Kisra Naji
  • the role, BBC Persian

Iran will have a run-off election after hard-line candidate Saeed Jalili and his rival Masoud Pizshakian, who is considered a reformist, failed to win a majority in both presidential races.

Candidates need to get 50% of the vote but both pairs were hovering around the 40% mark – each overtaking the other in several hours.

Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed that the second round is scheduled for July 5.

According to state media reports, two security force members were killed after unknown gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying ballot boxes in Sistan-Baluchistan province.

Mr Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator, was trailing Mr Pyzhashkian – a former heart surgeon and health minister – by around a million votes, according to preliminary Interior Ministry results.

Mr Pyzhashkian has pledged a different approach, saying that the actions of the morality police, which impose strict dress codes on women, are “immoral”.

Although he is seen as a reformist, Mr. Pyzhashkian is deeply loyal to Iran's supreme leader.

Some observers have suggested that Iran should expect little more than a difference in tone if it is chosen.

The vote is to replace former president Ibrahim Raisi, who died on May 19 when his helicopter crashed off a mountain, killing seven others.

Although Iran has 61.5 million eligible voters, only 40 percent managed to cast a ballot – the lowest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the ultimate authority in the country, had called for a “maximum” turnout.

Iran was rocked by a wave of protests in 2022 following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the morality police for violating Iran's strict dress code.

Human rights organizations say hundreds of people have been killed and thousands detained in the crackdown.

image caption, Conservative candidate Saeed Jalili is casting his vote.

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