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Liberal Masoud Pezeshkian Secures Iran Presidential Runoff Election

Liberal Masoud Pezeshkian Secures Iran Presidential Runoff Election

Masoud Pezeshkian, a moderate candidate and cardiac surgeon, won Iran’s presidential election by nearly 3 million votes, defeating Saeed Jalili. Throughout his campaign, Pezeshkian advocated for a liberal approach, including outreach to Western nations and easing enforcement of Iran’s mandatory Hijab laws.

As his lead over Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, became apparent, Masoud Pezeshkian supporters celebrated in Tehran and other cities before dawn.

Read more: Iran Presidential Election Heads to Runoff After Reformist Leads Voting

During his campaign, Masoud Pezeshkian assured voters there would be no radical changes to Iran’s Shia theocracy and emphasized Khamenei’s role as the ultimate authority on state matters.

The first round of voting on June 28 had the lowest turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic, traditionally seen as an indicator of support for Iran’s Shia theocracy, which faces economic sanctions and internal dissent.

Over 60 million Iranians were eligible to vote, with approximately one-third of them aged 18 to 30.

The election followed the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May. Raisi, seen as a protege of Khamenei and a potential successor as supreme leader, had significant influence over Iran’s domestic and foreign policies.

While Khamenei remains the ultimate decision-maker, the new president could shape Iran’s stance towards Western nations, influencing whether policies lean towards confrontation or cooperation.