Mostafa Mohammad Najjar

Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Iran’s Interior Minister says 64.2 percent of Iran’s eligible voters participated in the March 2 parliamentary elections.

Iranian media report that Iran’s Interior Minister claims the turnout was larger than in the previous two parliamentary elections, which were pegged at 51 and 55 percent.

The Interior Minister maintained that 48 percent of voters in the capital took part, while the figure for all of Tehran province was 52 percent. These announcements represent a marked increase from the 32 percent of Tehran voters who were said to have voted in the last parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, opposition websites are reporting a lower-than-usual turnout at the polls.

Kaleme website wrote: “Tehran streets were in some locations full of people engaged in New Year’s shopping for Norooz, oblivious to the many polling stations ready to take their votes.”

Kaleme added that polling stations were seen empty and that voter turnout in Tehran was low.

Foreign media reported that their correspondents were taken directly to certain polling stations and forbidden from freely moving about the city in order to report on the elections.

Reformists and opposition groups had called for a boycott of the elections in protest against the government’s refusal to release political prisoners or allow for open political activity.