Friday, 17 August, 2018

PM Modi congratulates re-elected Iran President Hassan Rouhani post emphatic victory

Ellis Copeland | 30 May, 2017, 07:44

Iranians yearning for more freedom at home and less isolation overseas have emphatically re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, throwing down a challenge to the conservative clergy that still holds ultimate sway.

The runner-up, Ebrahim Raisi, secured 38.5% of the votes with 15,786,449 ballots, Rahmani Fazli noted, saying the two other candidates, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemitaba, won 478,215 and 219,450 votes, respectively.

Iranians vote on Friday in a bitter presidential contest between pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani and hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi that could determine the pace of economic and social reform and Iran's re-engagement with the world.

The moderate Rouhani was elected president for a second term on May 19, some 57 percent of the voters backing him with over 23 million votes.

His reelection served as a stamp of approval for the 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran signed with six world powers under which Tehran has curbed its uranium enrichment in exchange for an easing of global economic sanctions.

Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the high turnout and stressed the importance of voting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday congratulated Iran's incumbent President Hassan Rouhani on his re-election to head the country.

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.

More than 56,400,000 Iranian people were eligible to vote.

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He took an apparent dig at regional rival Saudi Arabia, which is now hosting US President Donald Trump.

"They want to give President Rouhani another chance to see if his project of reducing tensions with some Western governments will actually work out".

"Obviously, with Rouhani's election, it would be very much the same (foreign) policies that we have observed during the past three and half years", Sadeq Zibakalam, professor of political science of Tehran University, told Xinhua.

After his re-election there were celebrations in the capital, Tehran, with crowds of young people singing and dancing in the central Vali Asr Square.

Prof Milani noted "the challenges he gave to the IRGC" as well as promises to release reformist leaders held under house arrest.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly described it as "one of the worst deals ever signed". The Saudis are a strong USA ally and arch-enemy of Iran; the largely Sunni Saudis strongly opposed President Obama's outreach and nuclear deal with the Persian Shia power.

Iran has no credible political polling to serve as harder metrics for the street buzz around candidates, who need more than 50 per cent of the vote to seal victory and avoid a runoff.

"Rouhani's vote, particularly in rural areas, shows that Iranian people no longer believe in economic populism and radical change", said Ali Vaez, Iran analyst for the International Crisis Group, a think tank.

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