Presidential candidates felicitate Rouhani on reelection

President Hassan Rouhani has taken an unbeatable lead in Iran's presidential election, an Iranian official source told Reuters on Saturday, citing an early unofficial tally, and is set to hand an emphatic defeat to his hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi. That puts turnout above 70 percent.

Political analysts say Rouhani is the favored candidate.

478,215 voters have voted for Seyyed Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and 215,450 for Seyyed Mostafa Hashemitaba, according to Rahmani Fazli.

Many voters were determined to block the rise of Mr Raisi who was one of four judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s.

The interior ministry official said that with 25 million ballots certified by the authorities so far, Rouhani won 14.619 million and Raisi gained 10.125 million.

Rouhani has come to embody more liberal and reform-minded Iranians' hopes for greater freedoms and openness at home, and better relations with the outside world.

Iran's president is the second-most powerful figure within Iran's political system.

He hoped Mr. Rouhani would continue his efforts to work for Iranian nation, trying more and more to keep the dignity of Iran as a habitat for Iranians, strength and endurance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, helping to eliminate the exclusion of disadvantaged and deserving people, upgrading agricultural materials, creating more employment through the production of exported crops and taking full advantage of tourist facilities, in his new tenure.

Voting Friday, originally scheduled to end at 6 p.m., was extended to midnight to accommodate a crush of voters, with many standing in line for hours to cast their votes. "I shall remain loyal to my commitments to you".

"The last two decades of presidential elections have been short days of euphoria followed by long years of disillusionment", said Karim Sadjadpour, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment who focuses on Iran.

"I want Rouhani to carry out his promises". He is seen by many as a favorite of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, although the ayatollah did not endorsed him.

The re-elected president will also face the challenge of navigating a tricky relationship with Donald Trump who has dubbed the nuclear agreement signed by former US President Barack Obama as "one of the worst deals ever signed".

A statement released by Assad's office said the Syrian president sent a letter to Rouhani congratulating him for the "confidence that the Iranian people gave to him to go forward in boosting Iran's status in the region and the world".

  • Julie Sanders