Masoud Pezhashkian, a 69-year-old heart surgeon, won the support of Iran’s main reformist coalition.

Tehran:

Iran’s reformist candidate Masoud Pezhashkian won Saturday’s presidential election against ultra-conservative Saeed Jalili, the interior ministry said.
Electoral Authority spokesman Mohsin Aslami said Pizshakyan received more than 16 million votes and Jalili more than 13 million out of about 30 million votes, adding that voter turnout was 49.8 percent.

The number of damaged ballots was reported to be over 600,000.

Pyzhashkian thanked his supporters who came to vote “for the love and support” of the country.

“We will extend the hand of friendship to everyone, we are all people of this country, we should use everyone for the development of the country,” he said on state television.

The election, which was called after the death of ultra-conservative President Ibrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, saw a historically low turnout after its first phase last week.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate authority, had called for more votes in the runoff, stressing the importance of the election.

He said the turnout in the first round was lower than expected, but added that it was not an act “against the system”.

The ballot comes amid heightened regional tensions over the Gaza war, a standoff with the West over Iran’s nuclear program and domestic discontent over the state of Iran’s sanctions-hit economy.

Support for reformers

In last week’s first round, Pezheshkian, the lone reformist, won the most votes, about 42 percent, while Jalili came in second with about 39 percent, according to data from Iran’s Election Authority. .

Only 40 percent of Iran’s 61 million eligible voters took part in the first phase – the lowest turnout in any presidential election since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The candidacy of Pyzheshkian, a relative unknown, has raised the hopes of Iran’s reformists after years of dominance by the conservative and ultra-conservative camps.

Iran’s main reformist coalition supported Pezhashkian, along with former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Hassan Rouhani, who are moderates.

Pizshakyan, a 69-year-old heart surgeon, has called for “constructive relations” with Western countries to revive the nuclear deal to “bring Iran out of isolation”.

Jalili, 58, is Iran’s former nuclear negotiator widely recognized for his uncompromising anti-Western stance.

During his campaign, he amassed a large base of hard-line supporters and gained the support of other conservative figures.

Ahead of Friday’s runoff, Pezhashkian and Jalili participated in two televised debates in which they discussed low turnout as well as Iran’s economic woes, international relations and Internet restrictions.

Pyzhashkian vowed to “absolutely” oppose the easing of long-standing internet restrictions and police patrols enforcing mandatory headscarves for women, following Mehsa Amini’s 2022 death in police custody. The latter has been a high-profile issue.

The 22-year-old Iranian Kurd was detained for allegedly violating the dress code and his death sparked months of nationwide unrest.

(Other than the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Iran’s presidential election



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