Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Moderate Masoud Pezeshkian Wins Iran’s Presidential Race

Moderate candidate Masoud Pezeshkian has emerged victorious in Iran’s presidential run-off election, according to an announcement by the country’s interior ministry on Saturday.

By gaining majority of the votes cast on Friday, Pezeshkian has become Iran’s next president,” the ministry stated. The election saw a voter turnout of around 50%, in what was a closely contested race between Pezeshkian and hardline former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

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Pezeshkian, known for his low-profile approach, has promised to open Iran to the world and deliver long-awaited freedoms to its citizens. His victory comes after a first round of voting on June 28, which saw historically low participation with over 60% of eligible voters abstaining.

Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash

The election followed the unexpected death of former President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, necessitating this snap election. Social media videos showed Pezeshkian’s supporters celebrating in streets across Iran, with motorists honking their horns in jubilation.

While the presidential role has limited impact on Iran’s major policies, the position is crucial in selecting the successor to 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate authority in the Islamic Republic.

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The election comes at a time of escalating tensions in the Middle East, with ongoing conflicts involving Iran’s allies Hamas and Hezbollah, and increased Western pressure over Iran’s nuclear program.

Voter turnout has been declining in recent years, with only 48% participation in the 2021 election that brought Raisi to power, and a mere 41% in the March parliamentary election. Critics argue this trend reflects eroding support for clerical rule amid growing economic hardships and restrictions on freedoms.

While major policy shifts are not expected under the new presidency, Pezeshkian’s moderate stance could influence the tone of Iran’s foreign and domestic policies.

In Urmia, Pezeshkian’s hometown in northwestern Iran, jubilant supporters were seen distributing sweets on the streets, highlighting the significance of his victory for many Iranians hoping for change.

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