Rouhani says Iran to live in peace with world

Posted May 26, 2017

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has won the country's presidential election with some 57 percent of the total votes, the country's Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmanifazli said on Saturday. Turnout was unprecedented - almost 41 million people voted, or 73.5% of the eligible voters.

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

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.

Election organisers were forced to extend polling by several hours as they struggled to adapt to a population explosion that has added 20 million names to the voting rolls in the past two decades. U.S. President Donald Trump's tougher stance on Iran has stoked concern as well, though his administration this week took a key step toward preserving the Obama-era nuclear deal.

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An Iranian journalist who had spoken to Raisi supporters after the election told Reuters they were furious at the way the president had spoken about their candidate and themselves. During his campaign, Rouhani clearly stated his desire to lift the remaining non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, which can only be interpreted as a desire to engage in further diplomatic talks with Washington.

During the final week of the campaign, Rouhani vowed, "We will break all the sanctions against Iran".

"Today, Iran - prouder than ever - is ready to promote its relations with the world based on mutual respect and national interests", he said.

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

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Thousands of people gathered in central Tehran to celebrate Rouhani's victory.

Reformist university professor Sadeq Zibakalam said hardliners were still refusing to accept the election's verdict: that an overwhelming majority of Iranians want the system to become more open. At a summit meeting this weekend in Saudi Arabia between President Trump and leaders of predominantly Muslim countries, Iran was pointedly not invited.

The reelection of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian President gives hope for the country's compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

The prime minister, in a message of felicitation to the Iranian president, said the Iranian people had chosen President Rouhani to guide the country with his visionary and astute leadership, through which Iran had made significant achievements in all the national and worldwide domains. Beyond the immediate effects, analysts were quick to point out that Rouhani's decisive victory means moderates and reformists will have a bigger say in the high-stakes battle to choose a new supreme leader to take over for 78-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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