World

Interior Ministry declaring early results from Iran presidential poll

Interior Ministry declaring early results from Iran presidential poll

"The election boils down to whether Rouhani is allowed a second term to finish what he began, or potentially Iran taking a different turn and standing up to the outside world", Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull, reporting from Tehran, said.

Rouhani had won 21.6 million votes, compared to 14 million for his hardline conservative challenger Ebrahim Raisi, with 37 million votes counted, the source added.

The government said over 40 million people voted, out of 56 million who were eligible.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeared to have secured a convincing election victory with voters backing his efforts to rebuild foreign ties, as initial results were announced on Saturday.

Iran went to the polls on Friday, the country's first election since the controversial 2015 nuclear deal.

Having been elected in a landslide four years ago on a promise to reduce the country's global isolation, Rouhani negotiated a historic deal with world powers in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Polls close at 13:30GMT, although authorities often extend voting into the evening. He joined the parliament after the revolution and held major posts such as head of the Supreme National Security Council.

Raisi is widely seen as Khamenei's preferred candidate - indeed, he is often mentioned as his possible successor.




Ahmadi also noted that around 40 million votes have been tallied so far, whose results will be made public later.

But US President Donald Trump has launched a 90-day review of the accord that could see it abandoned, and is visiting Iran's bitter regional rival Saudi Arabia this weekend. While Rouhani has gained popularity for opening up Iran's doors to the West and helping the country get rid of stifling economic sanctions by toning down its nuclear programme, he also battles large-scale disaffection in rural areas where jobs and prosperity have been hard to come by.

Abadpour said he meant to cast his vote based upon which candidate won the support of friends and family living in Iran.

Rouhani, who had received 18.6m votes in 2013, is projected to receive well above 20m this time.

"I respect the outcome of the vote of the people and the result will be respected by me and all the people", Raisi said after voting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. But what scant data that was available before the vote showed Rouhani in the lead.

All candidates for elected office must be vetted, a process that excludes anyone calling for radical change, along with most reformists.

That gave hope to his supporters, who during recent campaign rallies called for the release of two reformist leaders of the 2009 Green Movement who remain under house arrest. However, the supreme leader has the final say on all state matters and the Guardian Council must approve all laws passed by the parliament. The two figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, both endorsed Raisi, as did Mohammad Khatami, another reformist who served as Iran's president from 1997 to 2005.


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