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The bizarre case of 'blank votes' in Iran's elections

In the face of an embarrassing record number of invalid votes cast in the latest elections, Iran's leadership continues to either look the other way or scramble for a justification.
Supporters of Iranian ultraconservative presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi carry a poster bearing his picture as they attend a rally in the capital, Tehran, on June 16, 2021, ahead of the Islamic Republic's June 18 presidential election.

The June 18 vote in Iran was more than unique in many ways when compared to previous polls held after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. It told the tale deep from inside Iran's politics and the widening state-nation gaps, perhaps more vividly than ever before.

Weeks ahead of the elections, apathy was already floating in the air. Accumulated economic and political grievances of a disgruntled Iranian society had left it few, if any, hopes to cling to in the ballot box.

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