Hassan Rouhani has hailed his election as Iran’s president as a “victory of moderation over extremism”. The reformist-backed cleric won just over 50% of the vote and so avoided the need for a run-off. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran when the result was announced, shouting pro-reform slogans. The US expressed concern at a “lack of transparency” and “censorship” but praised the Iranian people and said it was ready to work with Tehran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged continued international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear programme. “The international community must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear programme,” Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to a statement released by his office.
Some 72.2% of the 50 million eligible voters cast ballots on Friday to choose the successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mr Rouhani issued a statement saying that “a new opportunity has been created for those who truly respect democracy, interaction and free dialogue”.
The 64-year-old cleric said: “I thank God that once again rationality and moderation has shone on Iran… This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity… over extremism.”
But he also said: “The nations who tout democracy and open dialogue should speak to the Iranian people with respect and recognise the rights of the Islamic republic.”