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Iran Elections – Ebrahim Raisi officially declared new president

Interior Minister Aboldreza Rahmani Fazli says Raisi has been elected president with 61.95 percent of the vote as voter turnout was 48.8 percent, a record low for a presidential election in the country.

Ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi has been officially declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election, a widely anticipated result after many political heavyweights were barred from running.

Raisi won just shy of 62 percent of the vote in Friday’s election, according to official figures released by Interior Minister Aboldreza Rahmani Fazli.

Voter turnout was 48.8 percent of the more than 59 million eligible voters in Friday’s election, Fazli said, a record low for a presidential election in the country.

Raeisi garnered 17.92 million votes in Friday’s polls, defeating his three rivals in a landslide victory, Fazli announced on Saturday. 

Former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezai came second with 3.4 million votes, followed by former top banker Abdol-Nasser Hemmati with 2.4 million and former deputy parliament speaker Ghazizadeh Hashemi with around 1 million votes. 

Congratulations have poured in earlier for Raisi on winning the country’s presidential election as his rivals conceded even before official results were announced.

State media announced early on Saturday that Raisi had won, as his only moderate rival congratulated him.

Former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati earlier wrote on Instagram to judiciary chief Raisi: “I hope your administration provides causes for pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran, improves the economy and life with comfort and welfare for the great nation of Iran.”

Rouhani congratulates people

Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani later said his successor had been elected, but did not name the widely expected victor.

“I congratulate the people on their choice,” said Rouhani after Friday’s vote as other candidates also congratulated Raisi. “My official congratulations will come later, but we know who got enough votes in this election and who is elected today by the people.”

Raisi did not immediately acknowledge Hemmati’s concession, nor that of former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei, who also conceded the loss.

Mohsen Rezaei’s concession in a post on Twitter came as Iran’s outgoing President Hassan Rouhani also acknowledged the winner in the country’s vote Friday was “clear,” though he didn’t immediately name judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi. 

On Twitter, Rezaei praised Khamenei and the Iranian people for taking part in the vote.

“God willing, the decisive election of my esteemed brother, Ayatollah Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, promises the establishment of a strong and popular government to solve the country’s problems,” Rezaei wrote.

The election on Friday was dominated by Raisi, a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after the disqualification of the strongest competitors who could have challenged him in the vote. 

Maximum pressure policy

Ultimate power in Iran, since its 1979 revolution toppled the US-backed monarchy, rests with the supreme leader, but the president wields major influence in areas from industrial policy to foreign affairs.

Rouhani’s landmark achievement was the 2015 deal with world powers under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.

But high hopes for greater prosperity were crushed in 2018 when then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

While Iran has always denied seeking a nuclear weapon, Trump charged it was still planning to build the bomb and destabilising the Middle East through proxy groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

As old and new US sanctions hit Iran, trade dried up and foreign companies bolted. 

The economy nosedived and spiralling prices fuelled repeated bouts of social unrest which were put down by security forces.

Iran’s ultraconservative camp – which deeply distrusts the United States, labelled the “Great Satan” or the “Global Arrogance” in the country – attacked Rouhani over the failing deal.

Despite this, Iran’s senior political figures, including Raisi, have voiced broad agreement that the country must seek an end to the US sanctions in ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at rescuing the nuclear accord.

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