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Hassan Rouhani declares again in Iran presidential poll

Iranians turn out in large numbers for closely watched vote Iran's President Rouhani Reelected in Friday Vote
Eleena Tovar | 20 May, 2017, 20:21

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, whose more moderate policies included greater internal freedoms and a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the US that brought about some sanctions relief, has won a resounding victory for a second four-year term, Iranian State TV said Saturday. Rouhani's nearest rival in the four-man race, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, secured 38 percent of the vote.

The president of the Islamic Republic oversees a vast state bureaucracy employing more than 2 million people, is charged with naming Cabinet members and other officials to key posts, and plays a significant role in shaping both domestic and foreign policy.

More than 70 percent of the country's 56 million eligible voters casted their ballots in what became a resounding victory for the self-described moderate president.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Voting was held in 63,500 polling stations across the country, and was extended by five hours due to "requests" and the "enthusiastic participation of people".

President Hassan Rouhani is well ahead in Iran's presidential election, in an initial count of votes in the presidential election. He had won more than three times as many votes as his closest challenger.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Saturday congratulated Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is on course for a second term in office.

Six candidates had been approved after vetting by the Guardian Council to run in the election.

The nuclear deal, which is largely viewed positively inside Iran, was among the most important determining factors in the Friday election.

He is believed to have had the backing of the powerful Revolutionary Guards security force, as well as the tacit support of Khamenei, whose powers outrank those of the elected president but who normally steers clear of day-to-day politics.

Despite the removal of nuclear-related sanctions in 2016, lingering unilateral U.S. sanctions that target Iran's record on human rights and terrorism have kept foreign companies wary of investing, limiting the economic benefits so far. But he remains subordinate to the supreme leader, who is chosen by a clerical panel and has the ultimate say over all matters of state.

"I want Rouhani to carry out his promises".

Raisi promised more focus on the poor and attacked the government as corrupt and elitist.

Despite the growing tension with the new USA administration and fears over President Donald Trump's anti-Iran stance, Rouhani said in the last presidential debate that he will "break all the sanctions against Iran".

Hashemitaba was among the first to predict an outright win for Rouhani as he offered his congratulations Saturday morning.

That hasn't stopped those at Rouhani rallies from shouting for the release of the house-arrested leaders of the 2009 Green Movement.

The other presidential candidates, Mostafa Mirsalim and Mostafa Heshmitaba also collected 478,215 and 215,450 votes respectively while Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri and Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf dropped out of the race days before the election.

Ahmadi says the Interior Ministry hopes to have final results later Saturday.