(From Reuters)

Iranians voted in elections on Friday likely to determine the pace of their emergence from years of economic isolation, with Iran’s top leader, a stern critic of detente with the West, urging a big turnout to snub the country’s “enemies”.

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his vote during elections on Feb. 26

There were early signs of enthusiastic participation in Iran’s first polls since a nuclear deal last year led to a lifting of sanctions and deeper diplomatic engagement abroad.

Long queues formed at polling stations in the capital and state television showed throngs of voters in Ahvaz and Shiraz. It was unclear how the turnout might shape the outcome.

The vote could determine whether the Islamic Republic continues to emerge from effective diplomatic and economic quarantine after years of sanctions.

“Whoever likes Iran and its dignity, greatness and glory should vote. Iran has enemies. They are eyeing us greedily,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei said after casting his vote, in a reference to Western powers. “Turnout in the elections should be so high to disappoint our enemies … People should be observant and vote with open eyes and should vote wisely.” Read More

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