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Iran trumpets high turnout in parliamentary elections (+video)

Iran's leaders see today's parliamentary elections as central to affirming their popular support – especially at what Supreme Leader Khamenei called a 'more sensitive period' of tensions with West.

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Iran today began declaring a "high turnout" less than 90 minutes after polls opened for parliamentary elections, a vote leaders have cast as crucial proof of popular support for their regime.

State-run broadcasters trumpeted what they called a "new wave of Islamic democracy" that would serve as a "model" for the rest of the Islamic world, but made no mention of the fact that opposition reformists have been purged from politics, their candidates banned from this election, and their popular leaders under house arrest.

"The higher the turnout, the better for the future, prestige, and security of our country," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said after casting his ballot. "The vote always carries a message for our friends and our enemies."

Ayatollah Khamenei said it was a "duty and right" of Iranians to vote, and made clear this election comes at a "more sensitive period," because Iran is being targeted over its nuclear program and for confronting the West.

Officials claimed Iranians were taking heed.

Turnout was "remarkable and enemy-breaking [and] unparalleled," the head of the Election Commission, Seyed Solat Mortazavi, declared, according to an Al Jazeera translation of a Fars News Agency report. "The prediction is that the nation will inscribe a new record in the political history of Iran."

The semi-official Fars News also reported that "high and fervent turnout" caused ballot papers to run out within hours in Tabriz, in northwestern Iran.

One official reportedly likened every vote cast to a "nuclear bomb dropped on our enemies."

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