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Re-election shows voters reject extremism, want more links with outside world: Hassan Rouhani

Hassan Rouhani
file photo

Moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his re-election shows voters reject extremism and want more links with the outside world.

In first speech after the victory, broadcast on state television, Mr Rouhani said, the Iranian nation has chosen the path of interaction with the world, a path which is distant from extremism and violence.

After avoiding a run-off with a 57 per cent outright victory over his main rival, Mr Rouhani said he respects the opponents’ right to criticise him.

Mr Rouhani, 68, supports the landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. The decisive victory gives him a strong mandate to seek reforms and revive the country’s ailing economy, analysts say.

Mr Rouhani also thanked former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, apparently defying a media ban on citing the ex-leader’s name.

Turnout in the election was unexpectedly high, at around 70 per cent. And this is thought to have helped Mr Rouhani, who received close to 23 million votes out of the 40 million that were cast.

His main challenger, former prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi received 38.5 per cent, or 15.7 million votes. Supporters of Mr Rouhani celebrated in central Tehran. On Twitter, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the election showed the “increasing progress” of the “Iranian nation”.

Mr Khamenei said Iran would demonstrate “national dignity” and “wisdom” in relations with other countries. But he did not congratulate Mr Rouhani for his victory.

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