Iranian presidential candidate Masoud Pezeshkian waves during a campaign event in Tehran, Iran, July 3, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/ File Photo

TEHRAN (Agencies): Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian has won Iran’s presidential election, the country’s electoral authority said Saturday, defeating his hardline rival in a pivotal vote amid heightened tensions both domestically and internationally.

Out of 30.5 million votes counted in Friday’s runoff, Pezeshkian won 53.6%, edging out ultraconservative Saeed Jalili, who had 44.3% of the votes, according to state-run Press TV. Voter turnout was 49.8%, Press TV reported.

Pezeshkian was elected in a second round of voting after securing the highest number of ballots in the first round, ahead of Jalili. The first round saw the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election since the Islamic Republic was established in 1979.

“We will extend the hand of friendship to everyone; we are all people of this country and should utilize everyone’s efforts for the nation’s progress,” he said in his first remarks after the election win, according to Press TV. He thanked those who voted in Friday’s poll “with love and to help” the country.

The Guardian Council, a powerful 12-member body tasked with overseeing elections and legislation, must certify the vote before Pezeshkian can take office.

Pezeshkian will take the helm in a country that is facing increasing international isolation, internal discontent, a spiraling economy and the prospect of direct conflict with its archenemy Israel.

The snap election that brought him to power was held after President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash in May in Iran’s remote northwest, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials. The lawmaker was the only reformist candidate vying for the top elected seat in the country after dozens of other candidates were barred from running.

Following victory, Pezeshkian appealed for unity and support from fellow Iranians.

By Media

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