Rouhani declared victor of Iran's presidential vote, state TV

TEHRAN, Iran - Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani leads in the Iranian presidential election by over 4 million votes, according to interior ministry which announced the preliminary results Saturday morning local time after counting almost 26 million ballots.

Out of more than 40 million votes cast, he received 57%, or close to 23m votes in total.

It was a rare night of open-air partying in Iran on May 20 as tens of thousands of supporters of President Hassan Rouhani took to the streets to celebrate his re-election.

Earlier, Iran's Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said the incumbent President of Iran has won Friday's presidential election. This year the turnout was 70%.

Rouhani, a moderate who agreed a deal with world powers to limit Iran's nuclear programme, will thus avoid a second-round run-off.

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.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly described the nuclear pact as "one of the worst deals ever signed". On the contrary, during Rouhani's tenure Iran has redoubled its efforts at regional hegemony through its support of the Assad regime and proxy groups like Hezbollah. He'll serve another four years in the post.

Mr Rouhani's allies say he still has the wherewithal to deliver progress.

Among other messages, Rouhani received the congratulations of the European Union (EU) diplomat, Federica Mogherini, in a message praising the Iranians for 'taking part passionately in the political life of their country'. In Iran, second-term presidents typically don't fare well: Rouhani's three predecessors won second terms by wide margins, only to find themselves stonewalled by the supreme leader - encounters they ultimately lost.

"A number of years have passed (since the protests) and the country is demonstrating a high level of stability - this gives the system confidence, which means more room for change", Izadi said.

Rouhani is seen as relatively moderate in Iran, while Raisi was considered to be a more hard-line conservative candidate.

The election has been extended by 5 hours due to the active participation of voters which saw some 5 million voting in Tehran itself.

"Not everyone who voted for Rouhani thought his record was excellent, but the majority decided his competitor would be even worse", said Izadi.

  • Leroy Wright