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Moderate elected President of Iran

IRANIAN voters have elected moderate candidate Masoud Pezeshkian as their new president, replacing hardliner Ebrahim Raisi who died in a helicopter crash in May. 

Reuters reports that Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon, won Friday’s run-off vote against former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Pezeshkian has pledged to pursue a pragmatic foreign policy, ease tensions over nuclear negotiations, and improve prospects for social liberalization. However, the news agency notes that many Iranians are sceptical about his ability to fulfil these promises, given that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds ultimate authority in Iran.

The report indicates that turnout was almost 50% in the run-off, following historically low participation in the first round. Reuters cites an Iranian source suggesting that Pezeshkian’s insider status and relationship with Khamenei may allow him to build bridges between factions, but significant changes are unlikely.

Reuters highlights that Pezeshkian’s victory has raised hopes for a potential thaw in Iran’s relations with the West. The news agency reports that Khamenei congratulated Pezeshkian but advised him to continue Raisi’s policies.

The article mentions that the election coincided with escalating regional tensions and increased Western pressure on Iran’s nuclear program. Reuters emphasizes that under Iran’s dual system of rule, the president cannot significantly shift policies on nuclear issues or regional militia support, as these are determined by Khamenei.

FinReuters reports that foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have sent congratulatory messages to Pezeshkian.

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By The African Mirror