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One day without campaigning in Iran
Tehran is calm for one day before the elections. On Wednesday, supporters of Hassan Rouhani crowded the streets of the Iranian capital after having listened to celebrity backers of the incumbent president giving speeches and whipping up the crowd in two locations in the city.
Rouhani himself did a last day of campaigning in the town of Mashad near the border of Turkmenistan.
During two hours, celebrities took the center stage at the Hejab volleyball stadium in downtown Tehran to give speeches in support of Rouhani. There was the son of Ayatolla Ata’ollah Ashravi Esfehani, a religious leader close to Ayatollah Khomeini himself.
There was Seyed Reza Akrami, head of the influential Presidential Cultural Council and the actress Zohre Hamidi. When the host of the event announced that the granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was among the crowd and that she supported the Rouhani campaign, the public went berserk.
Outside the stadium, everyone was keen to vote.
"Friday is very important for my country," says Maryam. "It is not only an election, it is the people’s election. It is an election for change. There are two ways, and we must choose for the way of peace and the way of a merciful Islam, or the way to war," she says.
"I really need Iran to be the best country in the world, and I think that Mr. Rouhani can do this," says Sabam. "I really love Mr. Rouhani, because I think everything is in his hands."
Another joins in: "We love Rouhani because he is our current president and we want him for the future. Rouhani developed a lot of things, for people’s health, he did a lot for our airlines. He is the best president Iran has had in all of its history."
"All of us are so exited for the Friday elections," adds Taisa, expressing hope that Iranians abroad will cast their vote as well.
On the streets of Tehran, the supporters turned the inner city into one big pro-Rouhani fest with cars honking, and people whistling, singing, grouping together and handing out purple and green pamphlets to passers-by, telling them to not forget and vote for their favorite candidate.
Only after 1:30 in the morning did things calmed down for a last day of reflection before the ballots are cast.