TEL AVIV – Iranian clerics urged worshipers to vote for members of parliament that are hostile to the U.S. and have “Death to America” written “on their foreheads,” AFP reported.
Prayer leaders across the country delivered Friday sermons pressuring the electorate to vote in favor of the Islamic revolution in next Friday’s double elections for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the governing body in charge of electing Iran’s supreme leader.
The clerics accused the Western media of encouraging Iranians to vote against the revolution.
“Today, they name the pillars of the revolution and ask people not to vote for them, and then name others and call for their election,” Tehran prayer leader Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi said in his sermon.
“Revolutionary Muslims should do the opposite,” he added.
Mohammad Bagher Farzaneh urged residents of the city of Mashad to elect members of the Iranian parliament who have “Death to America” written “on their foreheads.”
The southwestern city of Ahvaz’s prayer leader counseled people to vote for “champions of the fight against the United States.”
The prayer leader in the city of Isfahan responded to Western criticism of the Guardian Council, the institution for vetting public office candidates that was condemned for disqualifying thousands of hopefuls, most of them reformists.
The United States had been “opposed to the rule of Guardian Council since day one,” he said.
Following the intervention of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 1,500 candidates were reinstated, but the bar remains in place for many reformists.
Reformists and moderates in support of Rouhani are hoping to end the Islamist stronghold over parliament by emphasizing the economic potential of the Rouhani-led nuclear agreement.
However, according to AFP, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly stated there will be no reconciliation with the west.
If Khamenei, 76, were to die during the new assembly’s eight-year term, the Assembly of Experts will be in charge of electing his successor.