Iran: President Rouhani Wins Re-election — “We will break all the sanctions against Iran.”

DUBAI — Iran’s state television congratulated President Hassan Rouhani for winning a re-election by handing an emphatic defeat to his hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi.

Rouhani won 22.8 million votes in Friday’s hard-fought contest, compared to 15.5 million for Raisi, with 38.9 million votes counted, the Interior Ministry said, adding more votes were still to be tallied.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

**************************************

Rouhani Wins Re-election in Iran by a Wide Margin

TEHRAN — Riding a large turnout from Iran’s urban middle classes, President Hassan Rouhani won re-election in a landslide on Saturday, giving him a mandate to continue his quest to expand personal freedoms and open Iran’s ailing economy to global investors.

Perhaps as important, analysts say, the resounding victory should enable him to strengthen the position of the moderate and reformist faction as the country prepares for the end of the rule of the 78-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

With most of the votes from Friday’s election counted, the Interior Ministry said Mr. Rouhani had won 22.8 million, soundly defeating his chief opponent, Ebrahim Raisi, who received 15.5 million. Iranian state television congratulated Mr. Rouhani on his victory.

Turnout was heavy, with about 40 million of Iran’s 56 million voters, more than 70 percent, casting ballots.

Despite the healthy margin of victory, Mr. Rouhani, 68, will face considerable headwinds, both at home and abroad, as he embarks on his second term.

He badly needs to demonstrate progress on overhauling the moribund economy. While he accomplished his goal of reaching a nuclear agreement with the United States and Western powers in his first term, that has not translated into the economic revival he predicted because of lingering American sanctions.

He must also deal with an unpredictable and hawkish Trump administration that this week only reluctantly signed the sanctions waivers that are a central element of the nuclear agreement. At a summit meeting this weekend in Saudi Arabia between President Trump and leaders of predominantly Muslim countries, Iran was pointedly not invited.

The Trump administration’s national security officials are on record as considering Iran the source of most of the Middle East’s troubles, while the Republican-controlled Congress is not about to loosen the unilateral sanctions that are frightening off foreign banks and businesses.

Mr. Rouhani, who has managed to mend ties with the European Union, is undaunted, saying only last week that, “We will break all the sanctions against Iran.”

He has some cards to play with the United States. Iran provides crucial support to the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Iraq — an American ally — and any effort to roll back Iranian influence there and in Syria could jeopardize efforts to retake the cities of Mosul and Raqqa from the Islamic State extremist group.

Mr. Raisi, a hard-line judge who leads one of the wealthiest religious foundations in the Middle East, campaigned as a corruption fighter and called on Iran to solve its economic problems without help from foreigners. He appealed primarily to poor and deeply religious Iranians, many of whom felt left out of Mr. Rouhani’s vision for the future.

While he was soundly beaten, analysts said Mr. Raisi fared well enough to maintain his status as a potential successor to Ayatollah Khamenei.

.

Iranians lined up on Friday in Qum to cast their ballots in municipal and presidential elections. Voting hours had to be extended. CreditAli Shaigan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In defeating Mr. Raisi, Mr. Rouhani proved once again that Iran’s electorate prefers the moderate reformist path over the rigid ideology and harsh social restrictions favored by the conservative clergy and security establishment.

Despite controlling most unelected councils, the conservative clerics and Revolutionary Guard commanders — backed by state television — have suffered a string of political defeats, starting with Mr. Rouhani’s election in 2013. That led to direct talks with their archenemy, the United States, and ultimately to the nuclear deal, which they opposed. Then moderate and reformist candidates made strong gains in last year’s parliamentary elections.

Nevertheless, as supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei remains the ultimate arbiter in Iran’s opaque political system, and he must approve any further changes sought by Mr. Rouhani.

Yet, the supreme leader has demonstrated a surprising flexibility in recent years. While he publicly defends the hard-liners, he has permitted Mr. Rouhani to break some decades-old ideological canons when public pressures grow too intense.

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/20/world/middleeast/iran-election-hassan-rouhani.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-1&action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

Read the rest:

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Iran: President Rouhani Wins Re-election — “We will break all the sanctions against Iran.””

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: