TEHERAN, 15 JUNE: Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani was declared Iran’s new president today, the Interior Minister said, in an outright election victory that ends eight years of conservative grip on the top office.
Mr Rowhani, 64, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, won outright with 18.6 million votes, or 50.68 per cent of those cast. Announcing Mr Rowhani’s win, Interior Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said 36.7 million people, or 72.7 per cent of the electorate, had voted yesterday. More than 50.5 million Iranians were eligible to vote for a successor to Mr Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who was constitutionally barred from standing again after serving two consecutive terms. Mr Rowhani’s tally was enough to ensure there would be no run-off against the runner-up, Teheran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who was in distant second place with 6.07 million votes.
Current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, was third with 3.17 million.
The withdrawal of the sole reformist from the race had left the field open for Mr Rowhani to win the votes of both moderates and reformists and establish a large lead over his divided hardline opponents. Former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref pulled out on Tuesday at the urging of reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami, who then threw his weight behind Mr Rowhani.
Mr Rowhani inherits an economy that has been badly hit by EU and US sanctions targeting the key oil and banking sectors.
Yesterday’s election was the first since the disputed 2009 re-election of Ahmadinejad triggered massive street protests by supporters of his rivals, that were crushed in a deadly crackdown.
‘Deadly’ rocket attack on Iran exiles near Baghdad
Baghdad, 15 June: A rocket attack on an Iranian exile group housed at a camp near Baghdad today caused fatalities, a United Nations spokeswoman said, the second deadly attack on the camp this year. “I can confirm that there was a deadly attack,” UN spokeswoman Eliana Nabaa said. A police colonel, speaking on condition of anonymity, put the toll at three dead and 11 wounded from six mortar blasts. afp