Iranians cast presidential election votes in Dublin embassy

About 200 votes cast in embassy

Among Iran’s 56 million voters, an estimated 200 cast their votes in the Iranian embassy in Dublin yesterday.

The two main candidates in the Iranian presidential elections are the incumbent, reformist Hassan Rouhani (68), and conservative Ebrahim Raisi (56). The winner will influence not only Iran's immediate future but the looming battle to choose a new supreme leader, who will rule for life.

Mehdi Jamshidi (61), an electronic engineering lecturer in IT Tallaght, said he voted for Rouhani. "In the last four years he has brought peace to the country . . . Last year when I went back, the first thing I saw was people were in a more relaxed mood because things were changing . . . That's a big step for a society like that," he said.

Dual Irish-Iranian citizen Sheelan Yousefizadeh (25) noted that this was the first Iranian election she had voted in. "The only other elections I've voted in have been the Irish elections. This year I felt like it was important to have a say, even though I don't live in Iran. Especially this year with what happened in the US with President Trump's [travel] ban, it became quite clear that despite the fact I have dual nationality I'm still discriminated against."



At the embassy, in Blackrock, Co Dublin, women going into vote put on headscarves before they entered the building and voting was suspended at prayer times.

Nima Emani (39) has lived in Ireland for nine years with his family. He does not expect to be able to move back to Iran in the near future but hopes that one day his children could.

Parsa Ghaffari (29), a Dublin-based engineer, said he believed in step-by-step progress, adding: “President Rouhani is the guy that can get us there eventually.” He also claimed that over the last four years Iran had seen more progress than in the previous eight years.

One of the topics of the election has been the economic improvements made under Rouhani’s leadership. However, some commentators have suggested that many of these improvements have not had an effect on all society, with some returning emigrants facing difficulty finding work.

Samane Abdi (36) and her husband have lived in Cork for 10 years. They plan to move back to Iran in the near future but have found it difficult to find work there so far. Ms Abdi said: “Whenever we can get something we’ll go back.”

A number of other voters had travelled from Cork, Galway and Kildare to vote in the Iranian presidential elections.