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Reformer Pezeshkian wins presidential election in Iran

Photo: Atta Kenare Agence France-Presse

Payam Doost Mohamadi – Agence France-Presse and Menna Zaki – Associated Press in Tehran, Iran

Published at 12:24 a.m.

  • Middle East

Reformist candidate Massoud Pezeshkian won the second round of the presidential election in Iran, ahead of ultra-conservative Saïd Jalili, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

MP Pezeshkian received more than 16 million votes compared to more than 13 million for his opponent, a former nuclear negotiator, out of a total of 30 million ballots already counted, according to electoral authorities. Turnout was 49.8%.

The election is being closely followed abroad while Iran, a heavyweight in the Middle East, is at the heart of several geopolitical crises, from the war in Gaza to the nuclear issue, in which it opposes Western countries, notably the United States, its sworn enemy.

Hastily organized after the death of ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raïssi in a helicopter accident on May 19, the presidential election took place takes place in a context of popular discontent in particular with the state of the economy hit by international sanctions.

After a first round marked by a strong abstention, some 61 Millions of Iranians were called to the polls on Friday in the country's 58,638 polling stations.

Having come out on top in the first round with 42.4% of the vote, Mr Pezeshkian advocates for an Iran that is more open to the West. Mr Jalili, who obtained 38.6% of the vote, is known for his inflexible positions towards Western powers.

Mr. Pezeshkian, 69, has the support of former presidents Mohammad Khatami, the reformist, and Hassan Rouhani, the moderate.

His rival, 58, has the support of Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, the conservative speaker of parliament, who came third with 13.8% of the vote in the first round.

Turnout in the first round a week ago was 39.92% of the 61 million voters, its lowest level in the Islamic Republic's 45 years.

Opposition figures in Iran and in the diaspora have called for a boycott of the vote, saying the conservative and reformist camps represent two sides of the same coin. medal.

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“Changing things”

In a polling station in Tehran, Hossein, 40, confided on Friday that he had chosen Mr. Pezeshkian because he “can change things.” Farzad, 52 — who like Hossein does not wish to give his last name — made the same choice, to “prevent the access to power of the ultraconservative radicals.”

“We have been shouting death to America for 45 years, that’s enough, […] We cannot build a wall around the country,” he insisted.

Melika Moghtadaie, dressed in a black chador, opted for Mr. Jalili. This 19-year-old student is counting on him to “help improve the country's economy.”

During two televised debates, the candidates addressed the country's economic difficulties , its international relations, the low participation rate in elections and the restrictions imposed on the Internet by the government.

The reformist candidate, who affirms his loyalty to the Islamic Republic, called for “constructive relations” with Washington and European countries in order to “remove Iran from its isolation”.

Negotiator on the nuclear file between 2007 and 2013 , Mr. Jalili had strongly opposed the deal ultimately reached in 2015 between Iran and world powers, including the United States, which imposed restrictions on Iranian nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief .

Nuclear negotiations are currently at an impasse following the unilateral withdrawal of the United States in 2018, which reimposed severe economic sanctions on Tehran.

The election is expected have limited repercussions, the president having only restricted powers: he is responsible for applying, at the head of the government, the main political lines set by the supreme guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the head of the 'State.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116