Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's Official. It's Rowhani As New President of Iran

Okay, so now we get to see if this guy is as "moderate" as they say or will the mullahs and Ayatollah just man the strings coming out of this guy's back.

The story comes from The Jerusalem Post.

Iran officially names Rohani as next Iranian president

Iran's Interior Minister announces the moderate cleric's victory on live TV. Rohani says he will promote "constructive interaction with the world"; British Foreign Secretary calls Rohani's victory "remarkable."

DUBAI - Moderate cleric Hassan Rohani has won Iran's presidential election, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar announced on state television on Saturday.

Najjar said 72 percent of the 50 million eligible Iranians had turned out to vote, and that Rohani had secured just over the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a run-off.

The outcome is unlikely to transform relations between Iran and the outside world, the Islamic Republic's disputed policy on developing nuclear power or its support of Syria's president in the civil war there - all sensitive security matters that are the domain of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But the president does wield important influence in decision-making in the sprawling Shi'ite Muslim nation and major OPEC state of 75 million and could bring a change from the confrontational style of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term.

Rohani's wide early margin revealed a major reservoir of pro-reform sentiment whereby many voters seized a chance to repudiate the dominant hardline elite over Iran's economic woes, international isolation and crackdowns on personal freedoms despite restrictions on candidate choice and campaigning.

Rohani, a moderate who is a former chief nuclear negotiator known for his conciliatory approach, has signaled he will promote a foreign policy based on "constructive interaction with the world" and enact a "civil rights charter" at home.

In an apparent attempt to convey political continuity to both domestic opponents and Western adversaries, Khamenei said that whatever the result of Friday's election, it would be a vote of confidence in the 34-year-old Islamic Republic.

"A vote for any of these candidates is a vote for the Islamic Republic and a vote of confidence in the system," the hardline clerical leader's official Twitter account said.

Rohani's nearest rival was conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a long way behind.

British former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who dealt with Rohani during nuclear negotiations between 2003 and 2005, called him a "very experienced diplomat and politician".

"This is a remarkable and welcome result so far and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no jiggery-pokery with the final result," Straw told Reuters, alluding to accusations of widespread rigging in the 2009 election.

"What this huge vote of confidence in Doctor Rohani appears to show is a hunger by the Iranian people to break away from the arid and self-defeating approach of the past and for more constructive relations with the West," he said.

"On a personal level I found him warm and engaging. He is a strong Iranian patriot and he was tough, but fair to deal with and always on top of his brief." Suzanne Maloney, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said Iran "appears to be on the verge of shocking the world".

"With Rohani leading the vote, the regime's calculation now is whether a run-off campaign ... is worth the risk. A second round would entail an additional week of the kind of exhilarated campaigning, replete with young Iranians dancing in the streets and an amplified chorus of demands for social and political reforms, and ultimately pose a greater risk to the system." Excitement was rippling through Rohani's campaign headquarters with workers there preparing for victory, said a source close to the campaign. The Rohani campaign expected an announcement in the coming hours, the source said.

Electoral officials did not say from which districts the votes so far counted had come from. Late on Friday, authorities estimated turnout would top 70 percent - relatively high and likely to benefit Rohani.

Iran's rial strengthened about 4 percent against the US dollar on Saturday, web sites which track the currency said.

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