Iran's supreme leader urges 'maximum' voter turnout

Iran's supreme leader is calling for "maximum" voter turnout in the presidential election to "overcome the enemy", denouncing politicians who he described as believing that everything good comes from the United States.

While not naming any particular candidates, the comments by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to directly undercut the candidacy of the race's sole reformist candidate, 69-year-old heart surgeon Masoud Pezeshkian.

In recent speeches, Pezeshkian has urged Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and increase its outreach to the West.

"The one who has the slightest opposition to the revolution ... or the Islamic system, is not useful to you," Khamenei said.

"He will not be a good colleague for you."

Reformist candidate for Iran's presidential election Masoud Pezeshkian
Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian has urged Iran to increase its outreach to the West. (AP PHOTO)

Khamenei's comments drew repeated cries of "Death to America, death to Israel" from a raucous crowd gathered to mark the Shi'ite holiday of Eid al-Ghadir.

The 85-year-old Khamenei to urge the crowd to quiet themselves several times during his remarks.

Friday's election comes after a May helicopter crash that killed Iran's hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, a protege of Khamenei.

Khamenei's call comes after a parliamentary election earlier in 2024 that had a record-low turnout.

Voters across Tehran have expressed widespread apathy over the election as Iran faces an economy crushed by Western sanctions and after widespread anti-government protests in recent years, particularly after the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini and women refusing to wear the country's mandatory headscarf, or hijab.