Rouhani declared victor of Iran's presidential vote, state TV

Elias Hubbard
June 4, 2017

Moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani celebrated his surprisingly decisive re-election victory as a clear sign that the country rejects hardliners who want to isolate the country from the world.

Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi greets his supporters during a campaign rally at Imam Khomeini Mosque in the capital Tehran on May 16, 2017.

"We sent back Raisi to Mashhad, his conservative hometown in northeastern Iran", said Narges, a 43 year-old beauty salon owner, who declined to give her full name, Associated Press reported.

"(Iranian) people have supported the course of the present leader, which is quite a moderately liberal course taking into account the Iranian reality", Kosachev said Saturday, adding that this time Rouhani has received even more votes than in 2013 when 51% of voters cast their ballots in his favor.

Rouhani won almost 23 million votes, a strong improvement over his election victory in 2013, when he won 18.6 million votes, or 50.1% of the votes cast in a six-man race.

Rouhani won Friday's presidential election by securing an absolute majority of the votes.

With a huge turnout, polling stations stayed open until midnight in parts of the country, defying concerns that moderates disillusioned by the weak economy or slow pace of change would not vote. "The Iranian people have chosen the path of engagement with the world, far from extremism", he said on state television. The most powerful leader in the system is the supreme leader, who is chose by a clerical panel and has the final say in all the state matters.

The election has been extended by 5 hours due to the active participation of voters which saw some 5 million voting in Tehran itself.

Rouhani's central first-term achievement was a deal with six powers led by the United States that eased crippling economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

Raisi - who got 38% of the vote - had been widely seen as Khamenei's preferred candidate.

Although the powers of the elected president are limited by those of unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who outranks him, the scale of Rouhani's victory gives the pro-reform camp a strong mandate. In his first speech after the vote, Rouhani thanked reformist figurehead Mohammad Khatami. Given the importance of the Guards to the clerical leadership, few Iranians harbor high hopes that Rouhani will to fulfill all his promises.

One way the Guards could re-assert their dominance at home would be to stoke more confrontation overseas, where they provide the shock troops for Iran's interventions in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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