Masoud Pezeshkian wins Iran’s presidential rerun

Heart surgeon and reform advocate Masoud Pezeshkian has won the contested presidential runoff in Iran.

The lawmaker who has promised to reach out to the West for reforms to reposition Iran for advancement won the presidential run-off by beating hard-fighting rival Saeed Jalili.

“By gaining a majority of the votes cast on Friday, Pezeshkian has become Iran’s next president,” the country’s Ministry of Interior said on Saturday.

Pezeshkian got 53.7 percent of the votes, or 16.3 million; while Jalili received 44.3 percent or 13.5 million.

Pezeshkian said in his first public comments after the results were announced that he is not a winner-takes-it-all victory.

“We are all people of this country; we will use everyone for the progress of the country,” he said on state television.

Not long after the declaration of results, Jalili conceded defeat, asking Iranians to respect the president-elect.

“Not only should he be respected, but now we must use all our strength and help him move forward,” he said on television.

Participation in the election was 49.8 percent in the tight race between Pezeshkian and Jalili.

The run-off on Friday followed a June 28 ballot for a successor to Ebrahim Raisi who died in a helicopter crash in May.

Political analysts believe that Pezeshkian’s triumph might see the promotion of a pragmatic foreign policy, ease tensions over the stalled negotiations with major powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal and improve prospects for social liberalisation in Iran.

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