Iran's Rouhani vows to deliver campaign promises

MODERATE Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected in a landslide victory.

Iran "is not ready to accept humiliation and threat", he continued. "This is the most important message that our nation desires, and we hope all nations - both our regional neighbors and great powers - hears this". More than 41 million of 56 million eligible voters cast ballots.

Two major clerical bodies, which declined to endorse anyone in the 2013 election, have backed Raisi in a snub to Rouhani, who himself is a cleric himself.

He took aim at the conservative-dominated judiciary and security services, telling supporters: "We´ve entered this election to tell those practising violence and extremism that your era is over".

But there is no indication that Rouhani will be a "moderate" or a "reformer" on any other issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who congratulated Rouhani on his victory this evening and called him "my dear friend", had only last May committed a slew of investments for the strategically located Chabahar port, which sits on the Gulf of Oman.

"There has been some stagnation and an economic downturn but I am sure that the next four years will be very flourishing", one shopper said.

Iranian hardliners indignant at President Hassan Rouhani's re-election vowed on Sunday to press their conservative agenda, with some saying his caustic campaign trail attacks on their candidate would bring a backlash.

For India too, the victory of the reform-minded President will make it easier to do normal business with Iran since the USA had promised lifting of sanctions against it following the signing of the US-led worldwide accord under which Iran had agreed to scale back its nuclear facilities. Analysts said a higher turnout would likely benefit Rouhani.

He appeared to embrace a more reform-minded role during the campaign as he openly criticized hard-liners and Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force involved in the war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State group in neighboring Iraq.

The supreme leader has veto power over all policies and ultimate control of the security forces.

Election organisers were forced to extend polling by several hours yesterday, as they struggled to adapt to a population explosion that has added 20 million names to the voting rolls in the past two decades.

The re-election is likely to safeguard the nuclear agreement Rouhani's government reached with global powers in 2015, under which most worldwide sanctions have been lifted in return for Iran curbing its nuclear programme.

Without sanctions such as those that slashed Iran's oil revenues and barred it from the worldwide financial system, which were effective because China and Iran's other Asian oil customers cooperated, the left with more targeted measures against individuals, companies or organizations that assist in Iran's ballistic missile program or are found to have violated human rights.

  • Leroy Wright