Rouhani wins second term as president

President Hassan Rouhani (M)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is on course for a second term in office, preliminary results show.

Out of some 40 million votes cast, he received more than half of those already counted, with some areas still to declare, officials said on TV.

Mr Rouhani, a moderate who agreed a deal with world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear programme, would thus avoid a second-round run-off.

His main challenger has complained about alleged voting irregularities.

Acts of propaganda
Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric, accused supporters of Mr Rouhani of hundreds of ‘acts of propaganda at voting booths, which are banned under electoral law.’

State TV congratulated Mr Rouhani on his victory. Interior Minister Abdul Reza Rahmani Fazli said Mr Raisi received 38.5%, or 15.7m votes, not enough to take the election to a second round.

Voting time was extended by five hours on Friday, until midnight, amid an unexpectedly high turnout of about 70%.

Extensions to voting hours
Election officials said the extensions to voting hours were due to “requests” and the “enthusiastic participation of people”.

Mr Rouhani, 68, promised a moderate vision and an outward-looking Iran, and tied his success to the success of the nuclear deal brokered between Iran, the US and other countries in 2015.

US President Donald Trump opposes the deal, which eased sanctions on the Middle Eastern country but his White House renewed it earlier this week.

Final results are expected to be announced at 14:00 local time (09:30GMT), according to election official Ali Asghar Ahmadi.
BBC/Mercy Chukwudiebere