Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has underscored the turnout of Iranians in the presidential runoff election on Friday as the “backbone” of the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting with scholars from Shahid Motahari University in the capital Tehran on Wednesday as Iranian people, in their millions, are scheduled to cast their ballots for the second round of the presidential election on July 5.

Describing the participation of people as the “backbone and source of pride for the Islamic Establishment,” the Leader said, “The better, clearer and more evident the participation, the more capable the system will be to achieve its domestic goals and to pursue the goals in the strategic development of the country, which is a big opportunity."

"This election is very important and anyone who loves Islam, the Islamic Republic, the progress of the country, the improvement of the situation and [favors] bridging the gaps should show this interest by participating in the election on Friday,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the turnout in the first round of the election as less than expected and contrary to predictions, stressing that the reasons are being investigated by politicians and sociologists.

Campaigning for the runoff vote officially began on Sunday, a day after the results of the June 28 election were announced by the Interior Ministry.

Masoud Pezeshkian and Saeed Jalili received the highest number of votes but no candidate managed to secure the absolute majority, paving the way for the runoff election.

Pezeshkian is a former health minister and senior lawmaker from the northwestern city of Tabriz.

Jalili is the former lead nuclear negotiator and head of the top security body.

More than 24 million people cast their votes in Friday’s election to replace Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, who lost his life in a helicopter crash on May 19.



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