Elysee: Rouhani Reelection Gives Hope for Tehran's Compliance With Nuclear Deal

Across Iran, in all major cities and towns including Tehran, there were jubilant scenes as thousands of Rouhani supporters celebrated the leader's victory by taking to the streets, shouting, singing and dancing.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian nation has chosen the path of interaction with the rest of the world away from violence and extremism.

Although there was widespread fear of voter apathy before the election, polling stations were forced to stay open late as many lined up to vote late into the night.

The Instagram account of Rouhani ally, former president Mohammad Khatami, showed a picture of Rouhani making a victory sign and ran the slogan "Hope prevailed over isolation". According to the Minister, 23.549 mln voters (57% of those who participated in the vote) cast their ballots in favor of Rouhani.

Rouhani, a cleric who, with foreign minister Javad Zarif broke the taboo of holding direct talks with the United States and reached an worldwide deal in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, won 57 percent of the vote in Friday's election.

On Saturday, Rouhani said that Iran will continue interaction with the worldwide community and is ready to expand the cooperation with other countries.

"We've achieved what I wanted, which was not Mr Rouhani himself, but the path of reform, freedom and progress", said Pegah, a 25-year-old in the crowd.

The election is important "for Iran's future role in the region and the world", Rouhani, who struck a deal with world powers two years ago to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions, said after voting.

During his presidential campaigns, he also pledged to remove non-nuclear sanctions against Tehran, interpreted by some as an indirect signal to the Trump administration not to rule out a better prospect between the two countries, which have no political ties for almost four decades.

Rouhani, the favorite, was seeking a second four-year term that would demonstrate public support for his economic reform measures and efforts to improve relations with Western countries.

While Mr Rouhani is a relative moderate, Iran remains a harshly authoritarian country where civil liberties are trampled.

He congratulated 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".

"Today the election begins an era, and I, the president of all the people of Iran, need help of every single person, even those who were against me and my policy", he said. That puts turnout above 70 percent. "Now it is Rouhani's turn to keep his promises", said coffee shop owner Arash Geranmayeh, 29, reached by telephone in Tehran.

When he was swept to office four years ago with three times as many votes as his nearest challenger, Iranians held high hopes that he could fulfil his promises to reduce the country's isolation overseas and bring more freedoms at home.

  • Leroy Wright