Iranians are also voting for local councils, with reformists hoping to topple the conservatives' narrow majority in the capital.
Iranians voted Friday in the country's first presidential election since its nuclear deal with world powers, as incumbent Hassan Rouhani faced a staunch challenge from a hard-line opponent over his outreach to the West. He will not confront the leader (Khamenei) if elected.
"Rouhani has turned our foreign policies into a mess and damaged our religion", said Sedigheh Davoodabadi, a 59-year-old housewife in Iran's holy city of Qom who voted for Raisi.
Associated Press journalists in Tehran, whose liberal and affluent voters form the bedrock of support for Rouhani, found lines at some precincts much longer than those seen in his 2013 win.
Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions in 2016, lingering unilateral USA sanctions that target Iran's record on human rights and terrorism have kept foreign companies wary of investing in Iran, limiting the economic benefits so far. Raisi has even been discussed as a possible successor to him, though Khamenei has stopped short of endorsing anyone.
Trinamool MP granted bail by Orissa High Court
His arrest in the alleged Rose Valley scam came close on the heels of the arrest of another Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal. Earlier on May 8, the Orissa High Court had reserved its verdict on the bail plea of Bandyopadhyay.
In an interview with Sputnik Persian, Russian political analyst Nikolai Kozhanov said that Moscow is not particularly concerned about the results of the presidential elections in Iran, which kicked off on Friday.
Raisi says he will stick by the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, that saw curbs to Iran's atomic programme in exchange for sanctions relief, but he points to the continued economic slump as proof that Rouhani's diplomatic efforts have failed.
"Elections are very important and the fate of the country is in the hands of all people", he said.
Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions in 2016, lingering unilateral U.S. sanctions that target Iran's record on human rights and terrorism have kept many foreign companies wary of putting stakes in the Iranian market.
Raisi has focused his campaign on the economy, visiting rural areas and villages and promising housing, jobs and more welfare benefits, a message which could resonate with millions of poor voters angry at the Tehran elite.
Britain's Conservative Party pledges to tighten immigration rules for non-EU people
Net migration to Britain was 273,000 in the year to September 2016, and has not been below 100,000 in 20 years. The Conservatives reject Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon's call for a new vote on independence before Brexit.
The presidential race has since narrowed to a two-horse race as other candidates either pulled out or backed Rouhani or Raisi. Raisi accused Rouhani of "economic elitism, mismanagement, yielding to Western pressure, and corruption".
While the vote may not have a decisive influence on foreign policy, which is set by Khamenei, the election of a hardliner could see greater repression and further deter foreign trade and investment seen as vital to rebuilding the economy. "I hope we are not forced to leave the country", he said.
Polls close at 6pm, although authorities often extend voting into the evening.
Ballot counting was expected to start at midnight and final results are expected within 24 hours of polls closing, TV reported.
Elections of city councils and a mid-term parliamentary election are also being held simultaneously.
Pakistan to form new team of lawyers in Jadhav case: Aziz
However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. On this basis, the court concluded that "it has prima facie jurisdiction under Article I of the Optional Protocol".
- China, Cambodia vow to implement cooperation plans under Belt and Road Initiative
- Saudis not concerned about sharing intelligence with United States
- Man United: Jose blasts Premier League
- Romero thwarts Southampton in uninspiring draw
- A look at Iran's presidential candidates
- President Trump to embark on first foreign trip as president
- The Rock is seriously thinking about that 2020 run for president
- Trump Visits Middle East and Europe, Hoping to Change Global Narrative
- Trump promises quick nomination of new Federal Bureau of Investigation chief
- Bobby Moynihan leaving SNL for 'Me, Myself & I' on rival network