0752 GMT November 14, 2018
Iranians strongly supported incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in the 12th presidential election with more than 23 million people voting for him to reelect the moderate president for the second four-year term.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced Rouhani's victory on Saturday. President Rouhani garnered 23,549,616 votes, or 57 percent of the total ballots in a race that drew more than seven out of every 10 voters to the polls.
The candidate with the second largest number of votes was Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, who gained 15,786,449 votes, or 38.5 percent.
Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, the other two candidates, received 478,215 and 215,450 votes, respectively. Both candidates congratulated President Rouhani on his reelection.
Six candidates had been approved after vetting by the Guardian Council to run in the election. In the final days of campaigning, however, two of the candidates, namely First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, withdrew from the race in favor of President Rouhani and Raeisi, respectively.
In a live televised message on Saturday, President Rouhani praised “the great Iranian nation” for its “massive, expressive and effective turnout” in the election, which he branded as a “big step” in safeguarding national interests and advancing the country.
He added that the nation voted for “development and progress” and “said no to all those who wanted to take us back to the past”.
Rouhani called the nation “the main victor” of the vote, saying that the outcome was “the triumph of peace and reconciliation over tension and violence”.
He also paid tribute to former president, the late Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key supporter of his government, whom he described as “the man of moderation”.
Rouhani noted his reelection had sent the message that “the Iranian nation has chosen the path of engagement with the world”.
Iran's first presidential election since the 2015 nuclear accord drew a large number of voters to polling stations, with some reporting waiting in line for hours to cast their votes. Election officials extended voting hours at least three times.
The interior minister said that a total of 41,220,131 votes had been cast, and that the results he was announcing were almost definitive.
Minutes after the Interior Ministry's declaration, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a message commending the Iranian people for their "massive and epic" turnout in the country's twin elections.
Elections were also simultaneously held for City and Village Councils.
"The winner of yesterday's elections is you, the Iranian people, and the Islamic establishment, which has managed to win the increasing trust of the great nation despite the enemies' plots and efforts," the Leader said on Saturday.
The Leader added that the "massive and enthusiastic" participation of the Iranian people, who stood in long lines to reach the ballot boxes throughout the country, was "a clear indication of the strength of the pillars of Islamic democracy".
Ayatollah Khamenei added that during Friday’s elections, people from all walks of life and various political affiliations took part in elections together and once again voted for the Islamic establishment.
Ayatollah Khamenei also recommended the elected president and all people who will be part of the next administration to pursue “highly-motivated and thoughtful and youthful efforts” in order to do away with the country's problems and not neglect this right path, even for a moment.
Another point reminded by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution was maintaining “national dignity while observing wisdom in international relations” and making efforts to boost the country’s international might, which the Leader said were among priorities in the revolutionary and Islamic management of the country’s affairs.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also praised Iranians for their high turnout in the elections held on Friday and said that unlike many countries, the Islamic Republic derives stability from its people.
"We derive stability not from ‘coalitions’, but from our people, who – unlike many – do vote,” Zarif said on his twitter account on Saturday morning.
"Iranians must be respected and are ready to engage,” the top diplomat added in his tweet.
A number of world leaders sent congratulatory messages to Iranian president, felicitating him on being reelected as the country’s president.
EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, lauded Rouhani on his resounding reelection victory Saturday and pledged the bloc would maintain work to implement the 2015 nuclear deal.
"Iranians passionately took part (in) the political life of their country. I congratulate President Rouhani for (the) strong mandate received," Mogherini said on her twitter account.
"The EU is ready to continue work for full JCPOA (nuclear deal) implementation, bilateral engagement, regional peace, and meet expectations of all people in Iran," she added.
Rouhani spearheaded the nuclear deal with the European Union and other top world powers on Tehran's nuclear program.
Also on Saturday, Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah in a message congratulated Rouhani's victory.
Pointing to friendly relations between the two neighbors, the Kuwaiti emir wished success and honor for the Iranian nation and government.
Call for deeper ties
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message to Rouhani, calling for deeper ties between Moscow and Tehran.
In a telegram to Rouhani, Putin “confirmed the readiness to continue active joint work to further develop the Russian-Iranian cooperation partnership,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Putin also expressed confidence that Moscow and Tehran will continue to work in the spirit of “maintaining stability and security in the Middle East and the world as a whole” and that agreements reached during Rouhani’s visit to Russia in March will be successfully implemented.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rouhani on his resounding reelection victory, insisting that India will continue to remain committed to strengthening its special relationship with Iran.
“Heartiest congratulations to my friend, President Hassan Rouhani on his reelection,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Expressing confidence in Rouhani’s leadership, Modi said, "Iran will continue to achieve new heights under the dynamic leadership of President Hassan Rouhani.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping in a message said that Iran had gained new socio-economic achievements over the past four years under Rouhani's leadership, and that the China-Iran relationship has maintained sound momentum of development, thanks to the two countries' joint efforts.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also congratulated the president. He said: "During President Rouhani's first term we made good progress on improving UK-Iran relations, including an upgrade in diplomatic relations, and I welcome his continued commitment to the nuclear deal Iran signed up to in 2015.
"It is important that we now work together to ensure this deal is fully implemented, and its benefits continue to be felt by all parties."
Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende welcomed Rouhani's victory.
Brende said he echoes the sentiment of Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who said Rouhani's reelection sends a message that Iran could be serious about instituting reforms.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also congratulated his Iranian counterpart on securing the second term, hailing the presidential election in Iran as an exemplary democratic model for the international community.
In a message on Saturday, Assad congratulated President Rouhani for winning Iran’s presidential election and holding office for four more years, Syrian sources reported.
He further called for steady cooperation between Tehran and Damascus for contribution to bilateral, regional and international security and stability.
Lebanon's Speaker Nabih Berri also congratulated Rouhani, hailing the Islamic Republic for its democratic system.
"We are very pleased with the democratic step your country has achieved and the high voting percentage that exceeded any participation anywhere in the world,” Berri said.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said also congratulated Rouhani.