Moderate Hassan Rouhani wins Iranian election in landslide

"You, the great Iranian nation, are the victor of the election", Rouhani said on his Twitter account in his first comment after winning the vote on Saturday. Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri, who briefly contested the presidency before dropping out and supporting Rouhani, tweeted congratulations to Rouhani and all Iranians for the "gigantic victory".

Rouhani's closest rival, Ebrahim Raisi, has garnered more than 15.4 million, 38.55 percent, of votes tallied.

"Our people reaffirmed their confidence in President Rouhani and their support for engagement with the world", he added.

Like Larijani, the supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, thanked the massive influx of voters in the country and in diplomatic missions enabled to vote in 102 nations of the world.

Now, Parsi continues, Rouhani "must take decisive action to protect the human rights and civil liberties of the Iranian people, pursue improved relations with the world, and promote economic growth for the Iranian people".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his visit to Iran past year.

Incumbent Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was a candidate in the early stages of the presidential election but dropped out to back hardliner Ebrahim Raisi.

Both Russia and the European Union are eager to safeguard the 2015 deal which they signed alongside the United States, easing sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.

"This hope with which you've entrusted me, I do feel the weight of this responsibility", Rouhani said in a televised address Saturday, "and I do pray to God to be a worthy carrier of your hopes and your dreams".

That gave hope to his supporters, who during recent campaign rallies called for the release of two reformist leaders of the 2009 Green Movement who remain under house arrest. In Tehran, five million people went to the polls, double the number of 2013.

"I voted for Mr. Rouhani", said Mostafa, a voter in Tehran who spoke to CNN.

Despite the healthy margin of victory, Rouhani, 68, will face considerable headwinds, both at home and overseas, as he embarks on his second term. The Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the country's most powerful security force, are unlikely to forget his attacks, which played to widespread frustration with a state that controls how Iranians speak, gather and dress.

Rouhani also stated that the Iranian people had chosen their future path after understudying different views, stressing that everybody must respect people's demand and decision.

  • Leroy Wright