Iran election: Hassan Rouhani says voters rejected extremism

Tom MarkLast Update : Saturday 20 May 2017 - 5:09 PM
Iran election: Hassan Rouhani says voters rejected extremism

Moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his re-election shows voters reject extremism and want more links with the outside world.

After avoiding a run-off with a 57% outright victory over his main rival, Mr Rouhani said he respected the opponents’ right to criticise him.

Mr Rouhani supports the landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.

The decisive victory gives him a strong mandate to seek reforms and revive the country’s ailing economy, analysts say.

“The Iranian nation has chosen the path of interaction with the world, a path which is distant from extremism and violence,” Mr Rouhani said on state television.

“The election is now over. I am the president of the nation and need assistance from every single Iranian, even those who oppose me and my policies.”

Turnout in the election was unexpectedly high, at around 70%. Mr Rouhani, 68, received close to 23 million votes out of the 40 million that were cast, official numbers showed.

His main challenger, former prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi received 38.5%, or 15.7 million votes, not enough to take the election to a second round.

The economy seems to be the number one challenge for Mr Rouhani.

Average Iranians say they do not feel the economic benefits after international sanctions were lifted as a result of a nuclear deal signed between Iran, the US and other countries in 2015.

While oil exports have rebounded and inflation is back at single-digits, unemployment remains high, especially among the young people.


‘Revenge against hardliners’: By Kasra Naji, BBC Persian

Iran’s hardliners had pulled all the stops and mobilised all their resources to bring out as many people as possible to grab the last centre of power in Iran that was not under their control, namely the executive branch.

Sensing an effort by the hardliners, supporters of President Rouhani who back his promises to steer the country toward moderation came out in big numbers too. Turnout has been unprecedented. In Tehran, five million people turned out to vote – twice as many as in 2013.

This was a revenge of the people against the hardliners who intimidated them, jailed them, executed them, drove them to exile, pushed them out of their jobs, and discriminated against women.

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

Iranians have said a resounding Yes to President Rouhani who, in recent years and particularly during the last several weeks of campaigning, promised to expand individual and political freedoms and make all those centres of power, like the Revolutionary Guard, accountable.


He also promised a moderate vision and an outward-looking Iran and, at rallies, openly attacked the conservative-dominated judiciary and security services.

Another challenge, experts say, will come from abroad, and the relations with the new US government. President Donald Trump opposes the nuclear deal which eased sanctions on the Middle Eastern country, but his White House renewed it earlier this week.

Source: world bbc

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2017-05-20 2017-05-20
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Tom Mark