Religious minorities attended en mass in the fifth Assembly of Experts and tenth Parliamentary elections in Iran on Friday.
According to Iranian media, tens of thousands of Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians cast votes to elect their next representatives for the new Iranian Parliament.
The overwhelming majority of Iranians are Shiite Muslims. However, there are also followers of other faiths, mainly Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians including Assyrian, Chaldean, and Armenian.
These minorities are free to practice their religions under state law and they have representation in the Parliament.
With a population of around 15,000 in the capital and more across the country Iran has the largest Jewish minority in the Islamic world. The history of the Jews presence in Iran dates back to 3000 years.
In Tehran there are 10 synagogues. The Abrishami Synagogue is located in central Tehran it has capacity to hold 500 people and is a focal point for Jewish families in the capital.
Christians are the largest religious minority in Iran with approximately 250,000 in the country. By far the largest Christian group are the Armenians and they have a relationship with Iran stretching back to 300 BC.
Other Iranian voters are also queuing up at the polling stations in the hotly-contested elections to choose their next legislators for the next four years. Voters are standing in long queues to cast their ballots in favor of their candidates.
Authorities appeared overwhelmed by the large number of the people who began lining up even before the polling stations opened for the country’s 10th parliamentary and 5th Assembly of Experts elections.
According to Iranian interior ministry figures, a sum of 6,229 candidates have been cleared to compete for the 290-seat legislature but 729 of them have withdrawn from candidacy.
More than 5,500 have carried out the final registration to run in the race. Candidates from all the three major camps, the Principlists, Moderates and Reformists are present in the race.
Iranians have also gone to the polls to elect 88 jurisprudential experts out of more than 800 prospective candidates for the 5th Assembly of Experts.
The 88 members of the Assembly will also be directly elected. The winning candidates of the Assembly of Experts’ next term, lasting until 2024, possibly might have to choose the next Supreme Leader of Iran, or at the very least plan for it.
Photos Credit: Irna