Voting begins in Iran's election
Tehran, March 2, 2012
Polls opened on Friday for a parliamentary election in Iran that will test the popularity of the clerical establishment at a time of a standoff with the West over the country's nuclear programme.
State radio reported polling stations opened their doors to voters at 8 am (0430 GMT). They are due to close at 6 pm (1430 GMT), although this time has been extended in past votes.
The parliamentary vote is expected to reflect a deepening power struggle between political and religious hardliners. With marginalised reformists not involved, loyalists of Iran's most powerful figure, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are set to block backers of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from winning a majority in the 290-seat assembly.
The election result will have a bearing on the presidential election in 2013. The parliamentary election will have no impact on Tehran's nuclear row with the West and its foreign affairs, since these are very much in the hands of Khamenei.
Some 48.2 million Iranians are eligible to vote out of the population of 74 million. - Reuters