Written by 09:19 World

Masoud Pezeshkian Wins Iran’s Presidential Election

In an election upset in Iran, the reformist candidate who advocated moderate policies at home and improved relations with the West won the presidential runoff against a hard-line rival, according to results released by the interior ministry on Saturday.

The winner, Masoud Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon, got 16.3 million votes to defeat Saeed Jalili with 13.5 million votes. It was a blow to the conservative faction in Iran’s ruling establishment and a major victory for the relatively moderate reformist camp, which had been sidelined from politics for the past few years.

After polls closed at midnight, turnout stood at about 50 percent, roughly 10 percentage points higher than in the first round, with about 30.5 million ballots cast, according to the interior ministry.

The first round had a record low turnout as many Iranians boycotted in protest. But the prospect of a hard-line administration that would double down on strict social rules, including enforcing mandatory hijabs for women, and remain defiant in negotiations to lift international economic sanctions, apparently spurred Iranians to turn out.

“The difficult path ahead will not be smooth except with your companionship, compassion and trust,” Mr. Pezeshkian wrote on social media after his win. In another post, he thanked the young people “who came to work lovingly and sincerely for Iran” and “shined a ray of hope and confidence in the future.”

Mr. Pezeshkian said during the campaign that he recognized fixing the economy was inextricably linked to foreign policy — namely the standoff with the West over the nuclear program — and would negotiate to lift sanctions.

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Last modified: 8 July 2024
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