Iran reformists storm to victory in Tehran council vote

Rouhani presented his victory over the hardliner Raisi as proof that Iranians are choosing to move away from extremist isolation and toward a more open society.

European and Asian officials welcomed Rouhani's re-election, which creates extra space for business opportunities after the nuclear deal lifted global sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran's atomic program. "Rouhani called Raisi supporters extremist and violent". Assad also praised Rouhani for earning "the trust [of] the Iranian people".

"Rouhani's moderation has not translated positively in Iran's regional foreign policy", he added, as Iran's "expansionist FP (foreign policy)" has been "disastrous" for the region. He won one of the most polarised elections in Iran's recent history, one in which the clerical establishment backed a candidate who was running against a sitting President. It was a time when the moderate movement had not recovered from the 2009 crackdown by the state apparatus after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election. Analysts have suggested a high turnout will aid Rouhani in securing a second four-year term. He promised to serve as president for all Iranians, not just those who voted for him. Human Rights Watch reported that the hard liners "continued to crackdown on citizens for the legitimate exercise of their rights, in blatant disregard of worldwide and domestic legal standards". Women continued to face major discrimination in their daily lives.

At the time of the green revolution, Rouhani stayed mostly in the background, but paid lip service to the right of individuals to protest.

That includes Rouhani openly criticizing hard-liners and Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force now involved in the war in Syria and the fight against Islamic State militants in neighboring Iraq.

"If Mr. Rouhani had not won, the world would be waiting to see the new economic policies and the new way of interaction with the world, and it could take longer to make such investments", Mr. Lahouti said.

On Saturday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, at a news conference with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Riyadh, said Iran's presidential election was an internal matter.

  • Zachary Reyes