Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians are voting in a presidential election dominated by a hard-line protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after authorities disqualified nearly all of his strongest competition. Turnout in Friday’s vote appears to be low, fueled by apathy and calls for a boycott. Apathy has been widespread after a panel overseen by Khamenei barred hundreds of candidates, including reformists and those aligned with the outgoing president, the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani. Opinion polling by state-linked organizations as well as analysts have indicated hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi is the front-runner among the four candidates. Former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati is running as the moderate candidate but hasn’t inspired the same support as Rouhani.