Moderate cleric Rouhani re-elected Iran’s President

Rouhani’s re-election is seen not just as a victory of moderates in Iranian politics but also as a big relief for the West, which would rather avoid another confrontation in the West Asian region

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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NH International Bureau

Iran’s incumbent President Hassan Rouhani was re-elected on Saturday. Rouhani won with a massive margin defeating his conservative rival Ebrahim Raisi by over seven million votes.


Iran’s interior minister announced that Rouhani got 57% of the vote, with most of the ballots counted. When 99.7% of the ballots were counted, Rouhani had 23.5 million votes compared to 15.8 million for hardline challenger Raisi.


Rouhani’s re-election as Iranian president for the second term is being seen as the victory of moderates over conservatives in Iranian politics. Rouhani’s rival Raisi had the backing of the powerful cleric lobby, including Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Raisi even campaigned to undo economic reforms that Rouhani introduced during his first term.


Rouhani, the architect of the nuclear deal with the West, was hugely supported by the urban voters. They came out in big numbers and lined up outside polling booths patiently waiting to vote for their favourite candidate.

India enjoys good relations with Iran and has an agreement with the Iranian government in building Chabahar port along with Afghanistan

The overall voting percentage touched about 70%. High percentage of voting is said to have favoured Rouhani as both large chunk of urban and women voters seemed to have voted for him who had promised more openness and deepening economic relations with the West.


Iran, especially its capital Tehran, underwent significant changes leading to much more freedom to its citizens. Dish antenna, for instance, sprouted across Tehran giving much cherished freedom to Iranians to watch foreign channels. Women too are permitted some level of freedom, which was not liked by the Iranian clergy. Yet, clerics looked the other way while couples walked hand in hand in parks and other public places.


Rouhani’s re-election also comes as a relief to the Western countries, which would avoid another confrontation in the West Asian region that is already facing threat of jihadi politics from outfits like ISIS.

Raisi may have lost the elections but he remains a strong contender to become the next supreme leader after Ayotullah Khamenei, who is ailing. It will be a challenge for Rouhani then to deal with Raisi whom he has defeated in the presidential race


Rouhani will now have to deliver on his promise to further ease economic sanctions to perk up the Iranian economy. Both bazaar (market) and the young urban youth are looking up to Rouhani for Americans to ease sanctions. President Donald Trump, who is currently on a tour to Iranian traditional rival Saudi Arabia, has been openly opposing nuclear deal signed by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015. Return of a moderate like Rouhani gives fresh hope of easing of tension between Iran and America.


India enjoys good relations with Iran and has an agreement with the Iranian government in building Chabahar port along with Afghanistan. Chabahar port will give an opening to the central Asian and a part of European market.


Raisi may have lost the elections but he remains a favourite of the Iranian clergy which is likely to elect him as the next supreme leader after Ayotullah Khamenei, who is ailing and touching the age of 80. It will be a challenge for Rouhani then to deal with Raisi whom he has defeated in the presidential race.

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