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Iran's Rouhani to Seek Unity After Election Underscores Divides

21 May 2017

In his first televised speech after the result, Rohani said Iran's nation chose the path of interaction with the world, away from violence and extremism. His defeat leaves the conservatives without an obvious flag bearer.

A woman holds a poster of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a campaign rally in Tehran on May 17, 2017.

"We hope that if Rouhani wanted to change Iran's relationship with the rest of the world, those are the things he could do", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was accompanying President Donald Trump.

In a letter to President Rouhani, Sayyed Nasrallah said, "On the behalf of my brethren in Hezbollah and on my behalf, I congratulate you on your re-election as Iran's president and ask Holy God to support you to achieve the supreme goals of the Iranians and all the noble free in the entire world".

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The two other candidates left in the race, Mostafa Mirsalim, a former culture minister, and Mostafa Hashemitaba, a pro-reform figure who previously ran for president in 2001, respectively have 297,000 and 139,000 votes each.

So I don't expect any change" in USA policy toward Iran, said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracy, and a former CIA Iran specialist.Despite the nuclear deal, the United States still considers Iran a "state sponsor of terrorism."When Rouhani was first elected in 2013, it was taken as a sign that Iran's leaders might be more open to the West and would change the confrontational stance they had taken against the United States and its allies in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution". For Rouhani to still prevail shows that the Iranian people do not want to move in an isolationist direction. But since then, Trump's administration has taken a key step toward preserving the accord. It was a remarkable challenge to the Shi'ite Muslim religious judicial authorities, who have blacklisted Khatami from public life for his support for other reformists under house arrest.

However he added that Iranians will not accept "humiliation and threats, this is the most important message that our nation expects to be heard by all - particularly world powers".

"Democracy in Iran is allowed to bloom only a few days every four years, while autocracy is evergreen".

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During his presidential campaigns, he also pledged to remove non-nuclear sanctions against Tehran, interpreted by some as an indirect signal to the Trump administration not to rule out a better prospect between the two countries, which have no political ties for almost four decades.

Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday is not going unnoticed by Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, communicating in a series of tweets, lauded the "high turnout" and called it "glorious and historic" for Iranian elections. At times he broke rhetorical taboos, attacking the human rights record of the security forces and the judiciary.

Raisi was one of three judges who signed off on the execution of around 10,000 prisoners in 1988 as part of a purge created to strengthen the regime in the wake of an attack on the country's western borders by opposition group the People's Mujahedin of Iran.

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"I respect the outcome of the vote of the people and the result will be respected by me and all the people", Mr. Raisi said after voting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Iran's Rouhani to Seek Unity After Election Underscores Divides