Iran votes for progress

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani won a second term in office by a significant margin, amid high voter turnout.

President Hassan Rouhani pledged on Saturday to open Iran to the world and deliver freedoms its people have yearned for, throwing down a defiant challenge to his hardline opponents after securing a decisive re-election for a second term.

While Khamenei gave Rouhani some leeway to negotiate the nuclear deal, other reforms he sought at home, especially greater political freedoms for Iranians, were stymied by Khamenei and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told journalists in a televised news conference earlier in the day that more than 40 million Iranians voted in Friday's election.

In what many had predicted was going to be a closely contested election, Rouhanni won 57 percent of the vote, nearly 20 points more than the 38 percent his main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, received. More than 41 million of 56 million eligible voters cast ballots.

He also said that candidates Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba won 478,215 and 215,450 votes, respectively.

"We made the victory again.

It is in his presence that the agreement with the six-nation group of global middlemen on the Iranian nuclear program was reached in 2015, and it is in his presence that the Astana format of cooperation between Russia, Iran and Turkey on the Syrian issue emerged", Russia's senator said.

When student protesters took to the streets in 1999, Rouhani called them "bandits and saboteurs" and most damningly "the corrupt of the Earth" - a charge that carries the death penalty in Iran.

The re-election will likely 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 program.

Nonetheless, Rouhani´s expansion of healthcare and support for agricultural producers were seen as boosting his support even in more conservative rural areas.

"I humbly bow before you", he said in his tweet, adding that he will remain faithful to his promises given to the Iranian nation.

President Rouhani will now have a bigger mandate to push through his reforms, put an end to extremism, build bridges with the outside world and put the economy back on track, said the report.

One of the first world leaders to congratulate Rouhani was Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose government is strongly backed by Tehran.

Many voters were particularly determined to block the rise of Raisi, who was one of four judges in the 1980s that approved the death sentences of thousands of political prisoners.

At the Interior Ministry, the official and final result came sooner than expected.

  • Leroy Wright