Reformists sweep Tehran municipal vote as Rouhani wins Iran

Aaron Brown
May 23, 2017

Iran "is not ready to accept humiliation and threat", he continued.

Rouhani won 57 percent of the vote and avoided a runoff in an election that saw unexpectedly high voter turnout.

Rouhani's defeated rival, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi, a protege of Khamenei, said in his first comments after the election that the nearly 16 million voters who supported him must not be ignored. Turnout for that vote was 73%. Rouhani hasn't said yet if he'll retain the same cabinet for his second term.

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 USA sanctions.

In April 2017, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that Iran had been complying with the 2015 nuclear deal but said the Trump Administration was weighing whether to unilaterally break the terms of the deal.

A senior European Union diplomat said yesterday (17 January) that the foreign policy team of US President-elect Donald Trump had misunderstood the Iran nuclear deal and that it was not up for renegotiation.

That's what we hope this election will bring.

Rouhani and Raisi's ideas were not totally separate, both of them supporting the idea of an Islamist Republic and gained political sway from actively campaigning for it during the Iranian revolution.

In a further dig at Iran's biggest rival in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Rouhani reiterated the Iranian assertion that Saudi Arabia had been behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the USA in which almost 3,000 people died.

The Ammar website, which reflects the views of the Basij hardline volunteer militia, wrote: "Hassan Rouhani can for a month destroy the judiciary, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij and. and no one can tell him anything?" "It is even a stretch to call this an election in any conventional sense when all the contestants were hand-picked by the Supreme Leader, when outsiders were not permitted to observe the process, and when minority candidates were excluded from the polls".

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The Iranian nuclear deal has been heavily criticized by some Republican members of the US Congress and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The victory of reformists and moderates means the job of the incumbent mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who has been in the post for 12 years, is now on the line.

Iranians overseas were also voting in over 300 locations, including 55 in the US, where more than 1 million Iranians live. A court has banned quoting or naming Khatami on air. "I will keep my promises", Rouhani added.

"This will go on and the next trilateral meeting most likely will be held in Tehran", Rouhani added.

He said Mr Rouhani garnered 23.5 million votes out of 41.2 million ballots cast.

Saturday evening saw tens of thousands of his supporters celebrating by pouring into the streets of downtown Tehran, setting off fireworks, and singing and dancing until the early hours of Sunday morning. "He'll remain a centrist", Kupchan said. But Presidents can pursue a gradualist reform agenda with popular support. Iran's most powerful authority - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - has ruled out normalisation of ties with the United States.

The 68-year-old has come to embody more liberal and reform-minded Iranians' hopes for greater political freedom at home and better relations with the outside world.

Many experts are sceptical that a president can change much in Iran, as long as the supreme leader has veto power over all policies and control over the security forces.

Raisi, his nearest challenger, is close to Khamenei, who stopped short of endorsing anyone in the election.

Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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