Masoud Pezeshkian, a reformist figure, has emerged victorious as Iran’s new president, defeating his hardline conservative opponent Saeed Jalili in a run-off election. Dr. Pezeshkian secured 53.3% of the votes counted, while Mr. Jalili garnered 44.3%. This election followed a first round with a historically low 40% voter turnout on June 28th, necessitating the run-off.

The presidency became vacant after the tragic helicopter crash in May that claimed the life of Iran’s previous president Ebrahim Raisi and seven others. Dr. Pezeshkian’s victory has already received congratulations from leaders of China, India, and Russia. Even before the official results were announced by Iran’s interior ministry, celebrations erupted in Tehran and other cities, with Dr. Pezeshkian’s supporters taking to the streets in joyous displays captured on social media.

Dr. Pezeshkian, a 71-year-old heart surgeon and parliament member, has been vocal about reforming Iran’s policies, criticizing the morality police and advocating for national unity and an end to Iran’s international isolation. He has expressed willingness for constructive dialogue with Western nations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, aiming to ease sanctions in exchange for curbing Iran’s nuclear activities.

In contrast, Saeed Jalili, his opponent, maintains a hardline stance, opposing concessions on Iran’s nuclear program and advocating for maintaining the status quo. Despite higher turnout of 50% in the run-off, dissatisfaction with the candidate options, dominated by hardliners, persisted among Iranians.

Many who initially abstained from voting in the first round opted to support Dr. Pezeshkian in the run-off, fearing Mr. Jalili’s presidency would lead to increased international tensions, more sanctions, and deeper isolation for Iran.

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