Voting for the 290-seat Parliament (Majlis) and the 88-member Assembly of Experts would be held simultaneously. Some 55 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the two elections, reports indicated.As many as 4,844 candidates, including about 500 women, were competing for a place in the Parliament, head of the Interior Ministry's election headquarters Mohammad Hossein Moqimi said.

The week-long campaign of the candidates officially ended at 8 am, 24 hours before the beginning of the votes.On Wednesday, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said some of the candidates had pulled out."It now leaves around 17 people competing for each parliamentary seat," he said.

Ahead of the voting, the top Iranian leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned against enemy plots to infiltrate the elections, calling on the nation to remain vigilant. "The nation neither wants a pro-government parliament nor an anti-government one," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

"They want a courageous and devout parliament that knows its duties and is not intimidated by the US," he added. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani texted mobile phone users urging them to vote, saying participation was needed "to build the future of the country with plenty of hope."

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