Iran Elects Moderate Rouhani To Replace Ahmadinejad As President

Iran has officially elected Hassan Rouhani as the new president, to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following recent voting poll results.

In a few weeks Rouhani will be sworn in as Iran’s president, after claiming more than half of the total vote, reports say. This was a major landslide as the closest rival garnered only 16 percent of the vote.

The poll tallying was broadcast on state television, as polls closed late Friday evening. Final results were declared early Saturday morning.

Following the heavy criticism following the legitimacy of 2009’s elections, these changes were made to avoid repeat controversy.

Rouhani has been portrayed as a moderate, with several candidates holding more extreme political views.

The president-elect is known to avoid taking strong stances on issues and instead favoring the middle ground.

Western observers debate how Rouhani’s successful election will affect Iran’s foreign policies and political relations. Though a moderate cleric, Hassan Rouhani has a strong history of military service.

Having been a part of three war and defense councils, served as presidential security adviser, and held position as the commander of Iranian air defenses, as well as acting as the nation’s chief nuclear negotiator, Rouhani’s record is nothing short of impressive.

Iran’s new president has also expressed distaste for Ahmadinejad, often seen as a hardliner. Rouhani supported the Green Movement, a series of protests that came after Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009:

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“These were protests that were natural and popular. They should have been addressed.”

Rouhani is also suspected of having a less than friendly relationship with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the position as Iran’s supreme leader.

Hassan Rouhani can be described as an intellectual, holding three law degrees including a doctorate. He also serves as editor for three academic publications in science and foreign policies in which he regularly publishes essays.

President-elect Rouhani could potentially be the force that changes the course of Iran’s relations with the US and the UN, important especially now, as diplomacy beings to strain for Iran as Western nations are stepping up involvement in the Syrian crisis.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons / Tabarez2]