Iran's Hassan Rouhani Wins Re-election in a Landslide

Millions of Iranians voted late into the night Friday to decide whether incumbent President Hassan Rouha.

He cast his ballot just minutes after polls opened at 8 a.m.

Announcing the preliminary results, head of the election committee Ali Asghar Ahmadi said Rouhani had received 14.6 million of the votes counted, while his conservative opponent Ebrahim Raisi received 10.1 million.

But the election comes at a tense moment in relations with the United States, with President Donald Trump still threatening to abandon the accord and visiting Iran's bitter regional rival Saudi Arabia this weekend. A total of 38,914,470 ballots were declared valid, reported Press TV. Raisi is the chief custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad, a role assigned by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

During weeks of campaigning, the two main candidates exchanged accusations of corruption and brutality in unprecedentedly hostile television debates. Both deny the other's accusations. But what scant data that was available before the vote showed Rouhani in the lead. Suspicions that the Guards and the Basij militia under their control falsified voting results in favour of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to eight months of nationwide protests in 2009, which were violently suppressed.

Rouhani, known for decades as a mild-mannered member of the establishment, campaigned as an ardent reformist to stir up the passions of young, urban voters yearning for change.

So, Rouhani attracted more votes in the provinces as follows: West Azerbaijan, Alborz, Ilam, Bushehr, Sistan and Baluchestan, Qazvin, Kurdistan, Kerman, Kermanshah and Yazd.

"The business community, especially the private sector, is for Rouhani's re-election for the simple reason that we need continuity and consistency", said Cyrus Razzaghi, president of Ara Enterprise, a Tehran-based consultancy. She said she spent more than three hours outside waiting to vote, "but it was worth it".

Results from urban areas - much more likely to support Mr Rouhani - have not yet come in. But they were anxious to keep out Raisi, who they see as representing the security state at its most fearsome: in the 1980s he was one of four judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death.

Mr Rouhani, 68, promised a moderate vision and an outward-looking Iran, and tied his success to the success of the nuclear deal brokered between Iran, the U.S. and other countries in 2015. He pledged to increase social security protection, raise welfare and housing benefits, and curb unemployment while touring rural regions.

  • Zachary Reyes