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20 May 2017

Iran's presidential election- Hassan Rouhani reelected after decisive victory

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has won a decisive victory in the country's election, earning him a second term in office.

Rouhani secured 57% of the total 41.2 million votes cast, avoiding a second-round run-off.

Rouhani, a moderate, has pushed for the nuclear deal with world powers which helped ease international sanctions in exchange for the country's commitment to limit its nuclear program.

In context

Iran elections- Hassan Rouhani wins, gets second term

Election witnessed unexpectedly high 70% voter turnout

Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric, was Rouhani's closest rival who won 38.5% or 15.8 million votes. The election saw an unexpectedly high voter turnout of around 70%, prompting officials to extend voting times by five hours on May 19, until midnight.


Election result shows peoples' support for reformist Rouhani's mandate

The election result is seen as the citizens' affirmation of Rouhani's policy of ending Iran's global isolation and efforts and revitalizing its stagnating economy.

The election is also the first since the historic nuclear deal signed in 2015.

During his campaign, Rouhani tried to promote the election as a choice between "extremism" and greater civil liberties.

He called for more social and political freedom.

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Deal's future?

Nuclear deal safeguarded with Rouhani win but what about Trump?

Rouhani's win will ensure that the nuclear deal is safeguarded.

Under the deal, most international sanctions on Iran have been lifted and Rouhani has pledged to ensure the remaining non-nuclear curbs are removed.

Critics argue that with Donald Trump as US president, this would be difficult.

Trump has been a longstanding critic of the nuclear deal and had threatened to "rip up" the agreement.


Despite being president, Rouhani doesn't have ultimate power

Rouhani will likely face the same restrictions as he did in his first term which had hampered his efforts to deliver substantial social change.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has veto power over all policy decisions and control over the nation's security forces.

Rouhani's reformist and moderate stance may be in sync with that of Iran's conservative clerics, led by Khamenei.

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