Rouhani wins Iran’s presidential election


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has won re-election, according to state TV, defeating his conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi in a resounding victory for the country’s moderates.

In a briefing for reporters, interior ministry official Ali Asghar Ahmadi outlined a similar proportion of votes, which if confirmed would give the pragmatist cleric a second term in which to pursue Iran’s re-engagement with the world.

Pro-reform news websites said Rouhani was the victor, but offered no evidence.

Iran’s president is one of three members on a temporary council that takes over the supreme leader’s duties should his post become vacant until a successor is named by the panel known as the Assembly of Experts.

Rouhani had won the last election on a platform of promoting a more open Iran on the worldwide stage as well as more freedoms domestically. We won. We did not yield to pressure.

On Wednesday, the U.S. state department said it was adding to them.

Rouhani’s first comment on the win came on Twitter, which is banned by government censors but followed widely by Iranians able to get around the curbs, highlighting the limits on expression that still exist in Iran despite his promises for greater openness.

With nearly all votes counted, Rouhani looked to have an insurmountable lead with 22.8 million votes – or 59 percent – compared to 15.5 million for his hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi, election committee chief Ali Asghar Ahmadi announced on state television.

According to the official announcement, 40 million votes had been cast, indicating a turnout of about 70 percent.

The big turnout appeared to have favoured Mr Rouhani, whose backers’ main concern had been apathy among reformist-leaning voters disappointed with the slow pace of change.

Many had seen a tight race as Rouhani, first elected in 2013, brought his mixed record before the Iranian people.

Fazli said that a total of 41,220,131 votes had been cast. On Thursday, a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the premier was hoping to persuade Trump to impose still more sanctions against Iran when they meet early next week.

“Democracy in Iran is allowed to bloom only a few days every four years, while autocracy is evergreen”.

The 68 year-old president has promised to improve the country’s economic situation through opening Iran to the world.

More than 99 percent of the ballots have been counted.

The win by the incumbent President has been seen as a strong rebuke to hardliners who wanted substantial social and political reform. If no one candidate achieves an absolute majority – over 50% of the vote – a runoff will take place on May 26. Both deny the other’s accusations.

But in an apparent reference to the 2009 disturbances, Khamenei, an unelected clerical hardliner who has the ultimate say in Iran, has previously warned he would confront anyone trying to interfere in the election.

The result strengthens Rouhani’s domestic mandate to integrate Iran with the global economy.

For the average Iranian, the results so far have been lackluster, and Raisi repeatedly accused Rouhani of sacrificing Iran’s sovereignty for a fool’s bargain. Joblessness remains high – although it fell during Rouhani’s first term – and growth is middling.

Mr Raisi, 56, is a conservative cleric with a background in the judicial system.

Born into a religious family in 1948 and rising to the middle ranks within the Shi’ite clergy, Rouhani was active in the revolution that overthrew the US-backed Shah in 1979.

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