Iran’s Interior Ministry warned on May 18 that anybody caught speculating about the winner of Friday’s presidential election will be “dealt with seriously.”
Incumbent President Rouhani’s campaign also asked his supporters to avoid any celebrations before the final results are announced.
Meanwhile, Rouhani’s main competitor, Ebrahim Raisi, also issued a statement asking the president to “concur” to any election result.
A deputy of the country’s interior minister said any media or individual “predicting and speculating” about the winner will “face prosecution.”
Any celebration before the announcement of the final results would be considered a “violation of public security of the election process,” he added.
In a statement of “basic points” to be observed, the Interior Ministry last week listed a number of precautionary measures. The statement reminded the public of protest demonstrations following the announcement of presidential election results in 2009.
At the time, the official IRNA news agency announced the “victory” of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad with around 24 million votes before the official results were made public. The prematurely announced result was protested by other two contenders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi while the former later announced himself as “victor of the election” in a press conference.
Violent demonstrations followed in Tehran and other major Iranian cities for several days.
Raisi, Rouhani’s primary contender, issued a statement “calling on all individuals … attempting to provoke tension and insecurity to submit to the people’s will.”
Rouhani, for his part, said, “I don’t want to ask the Guardians Council (the powerful group of clerics deciding on the elections and candidates’ legitimacy) to monitor the election process. Young people, you should monitor,” he said.
In his recent campaign speeches, Rouhani has frequently and harshly criticized state agencies directly controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including the IRGC, or the Revolutionary Guards, the Radio and TV Organization as well as the Iranian judiciary.
Some of them, notably the IRGC, have denied these accuations.