Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a second term on Saturday, easily defeating his opponent in what was expected to be a close race. Rouhani won with 58.6% of the vote, according to state-run television, compared to 39.8% for his main competitor, conservative hardliner Ebrahim Raisi. Rouhani is from the moderate, reformist camp in Iran while Raisi was backed by religious conservatives.
Rouhani defied a media ban in his victory speech when he praised former President Mohammad Khatami. Mentions of Khatami and usage of his quotes or picture have been banned since he supported reformist candidates in the disputed 2009 presidential election. Rouhani said of Khatami, “Heroic Iran shall never forget its servants, those who worked for Iran’s glory. They are, today, regarded as the pride of the land and no one can silence their name and their greatness.” Banners of Khatami were in the crowd, but they were not shown on television and cheers for the former president were audibly quieter on television.
“Today, the world knows well that the Iranian nation is on a civilized course with the international community. Away from radicalism, our nation wants to live in this world in friendship,” Rouhani said from Tehran.
“But we are not ready to be belittled and threatened. This is the most important message that our nation desires, and we hope all nations — both our regional neighbors and great powers — hears this.”