Moderate Rowhani Wins Iran Presidential Election, Declares: Moderation Won over Extremism

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  • W460
  • W460

Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani was declared Iran's new president on Saturday, the interior minister said, in an outright election victory that ends eight years of conservative grip on the top office.

Rowhani in his statement hailed his election as a "victory of moderation over extremism," media reported.

"This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity... over extremism," the mid-ranking moderate cleric who was also backed by reformists said.

The president-elect also urged world powers to speak to his country with respect and acknowledge its rights in order to receive an appropriate response.

"A new opportunity has been created by this great epic, and the nations who tout democracy and open dialogue should speak to the Iranian people with respect and recognize the rights of the Islamic Republic," he said.

Then they will "hear an appropriate response," he added.

Rowhani, 64, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, won outright with 18.6 million votes, or 50.68 percent of those cast.

Announcing Rowhani's win, Interior Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said 36.7 million people, or 72.7 percent of the electorate, had voted on Friday.

More than 50.5 million Iranians had been eligible to vote for a successor to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who was constitutionally barred from standing again after serving two consecutive terms.

Rowhani's tally was enough to ensure there would be no run-off against the runner-up, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who was in distant second place with 6.07 million votes.

Current nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, was third with 3.17 million.

The withdrawal of the sole reformist from the race had left the field open for Rowhani to win the votes of both moderates and reformists and establish a large lead over his divided hardline opponents.

Former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref pulled out on Tuesday at the urging of reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami, who then threw his weight behind Rowhani.

Rowhani inherits an economy that has been badly hit by EU and U.S. sanctions targeting the key oil and banking sectors.

Friday's election was the first since the disputed 2009 re-election of Ahmadinejad triggered massive street protests by supporters of his rivals, that were crushed in a deadly crackdown.

In 2003, when Rowhani was top nuclear negotiator under Khatami, the Islamic republic agreed to suspend its controversial enrichment of uranium.

The program restarted two years later when Ahmadinejad was first elected.

Iran has been at loggerheads with world powers over its nuclear drive, which the West suspects is aimed at developing an atomic weapon capability.

Tehran denies the charge, but the sanctions imposed over the stand-off have isolated it internationally.

In campaigning, Rowhani pledged to move to ease the sanctions, which have led to severe economic pain.

Inflation is raging at more than 30 percent, the rial has lost nearly 70 percent of its value, and unemployment is rising.

The economy formed the focus of voters' concerns.

"We expect the new president to improve the economy so that it gets better and better," said Tehran resident Farshid Hassan Zade ahead of the results.

Rowhani also boasts close ties with moderate ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and touts his relations with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all key issues, including the nuclear program.

Rowhani is a representative of Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security body, and was its secretary for 16 years until 2005.

Khamenei congratulated Rowhani on winning the presidential election, the website reported.

"Congratulations to the people and to president-elect Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani," Khamenei's Internet site said.

"I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleagues in the government, as he is the president of the whole nation," he added.

Rowhani has said there will be "no surrender" to Western demands in talks on Iran's controversial nuclear program but has promised a more constructive, less adventurist approach.

Before the official results were announced, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, spokesman for the Guardians Council electoral watchdog, said "no violation" had been reported.

However Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said on Thursday that the political climate in Iran did not allow a "free and fair" election.

Tehran resident Ali Yousefi said after voting on Friday: "I think that there was a great level of participation in this election, which shows that people will show up when they should and turn everything to their favor."

The 2009 protests that followed Ahmadinejad's re-election led to the eventual detention under house arrest of opposition candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and the widespread suppression of reformists.

Khatami's endorsement of Rowhani for president gave birth to an online movement, with social networkers urging abstentionists not to waste their votes.

Rowhani has vowed to restore diplomatic ties with arch-foe the United States, which cut relations in the aftermath of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy by Islamist students.

He has also pledged that "discrimination against women will not be tolerated".

Married with four children, he holds a doctorate in law from Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University, according to his official CV.

He was born in 1948 in the town of Sorkheh southeast of Tehran.

Comments 18
Missing 15 June 2013, 19:25

The real decisions are taken by the "supreme leader" or "Whilayat Al faqeeh"

Thumb benzona 16 June 2013, 01:07

Exactly, the nuclear threat is only the the supreme leader's hands.... What a democracy.... Oh wait, it isn't one, it's a theocracy!

Thumb gebran_sons 15 June 2013, 19:31

Rowhani is not a moderate reformist except in comparison to the other dummy candidates hand picked by the supreme inquisitor to perpetrate the barbaric oppressive regime. Rowhani at best is an opportunist who understands people's anger from this brutal regime that isolated the country and wasted natural resources following a path similar to North Korea. Tens of thousands of Iranian democracy seekers were beaten, locked in prison, or killed. They paid in blood for freedom. They qualify as reformers, not Rowhani how so far has only given lip service to freedom. Hopefully he proves us wrong by his actions. This election shows that oppressed Iranians would have overwhelmingly elected a true reformist if they were allowed to be candidate. No democracy yet!

Missing halaktouna77 16 June 2013, 10:04

Big John ... how small you are when you think this way. Gebran was bigger than any one of your barbaric puppets ... he criticized everyone who deserved critisizm, wasn't hsi fault that it was only Syria dn Iran lately! read his published work and you will realize that what you said is totally wrong.
And for the love of God, stop comparing everything to KSA, no one ever claimed they have democracy, not even them, but Iran hails its democratic atmosphere and this is why they are criticized. When you know you are a dictator, shut it and don't say otherwise.
So next time, think before you write, you bring a bad name to the educated Koura people.

Thumb lebanon_first 15 June 2013, 19:59

same shit, I hope that the iranian people do a revolution and overthrow this khamenei middle ages cartoon character, quit the charade and do a real democracy, and in their process stop financing HA.

Thumb lebanon_first 15 June 2013, 19:59

same shit, I hope that the iranian people do a revolution and overthrow this khamenei middle ages cartoon character, quit the charade and do a real democracy, and in their process stop financing HA.

Missing peace 15 June 2013, 20:10

lol! seems you know nothing then....

Thumb chrisrushlau 15 June 2013, 20:14

The start of the process which is eating at the foundations of Lebanese racism: the democratic Iranian revolution.

Missing mohammad_ca 15 June 2013, 21:25

The nuclear ministry, the republican guard and the foreign ministry are under the supreme leader in Iran. Alos he can disqualify candidates based on his own whims

Thumb terminator 15 June 2013, 22:57

How's it feel .

Missing samiam 15 June 2013, 23:17

dude, you are way off.

it is good to dream, or sometimes be delusional, but it doesn't mean that it is reality.

Default-user-icon Scrapi (Guest) 15 June 2013, 23:31

So Iran has a "moderate" president... hmmm yeah im waitng for the big change!
A friend of mine is in Iran now and he told me that a tv chanel interviewed him about the election and they told him wath to answer. Then he told them i want a free and peacful iran ang he got in trouble and had to get away from there fast! Moderat iran....

This is just a way for them to avoid a new uprising against them and to back down to the embargos angaisnt without officially back down. Also, The roar, Its prfectly normal for m14 to care about leanons intrest and not priorities other countrys intrests. Thats why you dont get it.

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan 15 June 2013, 23:52

Most of us don't just blindly support KSA. And you keep pointing out its flaws. Yes they behead certain criminals. Sure they force women to cover up. But so does Iran. KSA never claims to be a democracy. While Iran does and it is nothing close to the word. The wilayet al faqih is lord. King. Sheikh. Amir. Sultan. Whatever. Wilayet al faqih can change the will of the people. As he obviously did last elections based on the crushing win this year. And last but not least you m8 crew drool on KSA too. If KSA became democratic and opened clubs. Nude beaches. And a red light district. but followed the same policy. You'd find another reason to hate.

Thumb arzak-ya-libnan 15 June 2013, 23:58

Oh and this rohanis first act should be to free mousawi and karroobi from house arrest. Among others. Free political prisoners. Hold accountable the Basij for their actions during the green revolution. And launch an investigation to see how high the order was to suppress them. If the wilayet al faqih has the final say. Yes the same one who twisted the will of the people killed and beat them for saying WTF???

Missing h.mousawy 16 June 2013, 01:39

Today's elections reflect a true democratic system Iras enjoys. Im not saying this bcz i'm shia or from Al-Mousawy family, but their system is more democratic than any other state in the middle east, including ours, Lebanon.

Do you know that Rohani was not, by far, Sayyed Khamenei's favourite candidate!! However, the supreme leader did not support any opposing candidate in order to let the democratic game play out.

Do you know that Rohani said during his campaigns that he will free political prisoners? He also vowed to change his foreign policy towards the West. He also critisized Najjad, who has the blessings and full support of Sayyed Khamenei.

Yet, with all these obstacles, if i may call them, he won! You dont call this true democracy?? Almost 80% turnout, not democracy??

Missing un520 16 June 2013, 01:55

Real Democracy?
The Guardian Counsil stands free to disqualify anyone they may dislike- Hadi Khamenei, the brother of Supreme Leader Ali Khameni and an adviser in the administration of reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, said the Guardian Council's vetting of candidates threatens Iranian democracy. He believes some reformist candidates are wrongly kept from running.
Add to that the abscence of women from the candidates...

Missing 16 June 2013, 02:31

disgustedbyidiots - complementary: one comes in life and the other in the after life. :)

Thumb primesuspect 16 June 2013, 03:11

He's a fraud. He pretends being Sunni and has a PHD. Wat a sick man.