Tehran, Feb.29 (ANI): Iran's government is goading citizens to vote and warned them not to protest the results of parliamentary elections on Friday.
The voter turnout is being seen as a test of the regime's legitimacy, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Many ordinary Iranians and now outlawed reformist political parties say they will boycott the vote to protest the status quo.
Risking reprisals, student activists from eight major universities issued a statement on Tuesday saying the election is a "staged circus" by the regime.
The opposition Green Movement said that it, too, would avoid the polls because it says the process isn't democratic.
Iran's government is countering that with a get-out-the-vote campaign, hoping that a strong turnout will show it still has popular support despite internal opposition and growing international sanctions against Tehran's nuclear program.
Iranian officials also have taken credit for the Islamic uprisings across the Arab world and they want to display their brand of Islamic democracy as a model. Voter apathy would undermine these claims.
"Participating in the election is the most important duty for people and every sector of the country is run based on these elections," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech Tuesday at a public housing opening ceremony in Tehran, reported state media.
Friday's parliament vote will mark the first time Iran is holding an election since its tumultuous 2009 presidential election when millions of protesters across Iran contested the re-election of Ahmadinejad amid allegations of fraud.
The government cracked down violently against the protesters. (ANI)
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