Calling for better ties with West, Iran reformist wins presidency

Masoud Pezeshkian, a champion of stronger links with the West and a reformist, defeated ultraconservative Saeed Jalili in a runoff presidential election in Iran on Saturday, according to the Interior Ministry.

The election took place amid a backdrop of increased tensions in the area brought on by the Gaza War, a disagreement with the West on Iran’s nuclear program, and domestic unrest at the state of the sanctions-affected Iranian economy.

According to electoral authority spokesman Mohsen Eslami, of the approximately 30 million votes cast, Pezeshkian won more than 16 million votes, or nearly 54%, and Jalili more than 13 million votes, or around 44%.

According to Eslami, voter turnout increased to 49.8% from a record low of roughly 40% in the first round.

In his first comments after winning, Pezeshkian said the vote was the start of a “partnership” with Iran’s people.

“The difficult path ahead will not be smooth except with your companionship, empathy, and trust. I extend my hand to you,” Pezeshkian said on social media platform X.

The election was delayed until 2025, but it was necessary when ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash.

In order to avoid further isolation, Iran under Raisi attempted to mend fences with its Arab neighbors, primarily Saudi Arabia, and pursue better relations with China and Russia.

Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, congratulated Pezeshkian. China and Russia both stated that they hoped to strengthen their relations even more.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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