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Moderate Leader Masoud Pezeshkian Wins Iranian Presidency, Pledges Pragmatic Reforms Amid Skepticism

Iran’s newly elected president, known for his relatively moderate stance, has urged citizens to support him through the “difficult road ahead” after his election victory. Masoud Pezeshkian, the only moderate candidate among the four in the race, won the run-off election against former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. He succeeds President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon, has committed to a pragmatic foreign policy, reducing tensions over stalled nuclear negotiations, and promoting social liberalization and political pluralism. However, many Iranians doubt his ability to achieve these goals, given that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds the ultimate authority in the country.

In a message on the social media platform X, Pezeshkian addressed the nation, stating, “Dear people of Iran, the election is over, and this is just the beginning of our working together. A difficult road is ahead. It can only be smooth with your cooperation, empathy, and trust. I extend my hand to you and swear on my honour that I will not abandon you on this path. Do not abandon me.”

Once the election results are confirmed by the election watchdog and approved by Khamenei, Pezeshkian will take office in the coming days. Voter turnout was nearly 50%, an improvement from the historically low turnout in the initial round on June 28.

Pezeshkian’s supporters, primarily the urban middle class and youth, had been disheartened by years of security crackdowns on public dissent. A source noted that Pezeshkian’s close relationship with Khamenei might enable him to bridge factions and promote moderation, though not the substantial changes desired by many Iranians.

Historically, Iran has seen two significant reform attempts: one from 1997 to 2005 under President Mohammad Khatami, who faced opposition from Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards; and another from 2013 to 2021 under President Hassan Rouhani, who prioritized the 2015 nuclear deal over domestic reforms.

Pezeshkian’s election has raised hopes for improved relations with the West and potential progress in nuclear negotiations. Khamenei, acknowledging the high voter turnout, congratulated Pezeshkian and advised him to continue Raisi’s policies.

Celebrations erupted in many cities as Pezeshkian’s supporters danced and honked car horns to celebrate his victory. This election took place amid rising regional tensions due to conflicts involving Israel and Iranian allies, as well as increased Western pressure on Iran’s nuclear program.

Despite the president’s limited power to make significant policy shifts, Pezeshkian’s moderate tone could influence Iran’s approach and he will play a role in selecting Khamenei’s successor. Supported by Iran’s reformist camp, Pezeshkian remains loyal to the theocratic rule and does not intend to challenge the powerful security and clerical establishment.

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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Charles Wright
Charles Wrighthttps://devstory.org.za
Charles Wright embarked on his journalism career two decades ago, quickly making a name for himself with his insightful reporting and keen eye for detail. His dedication to uncovering the truth and presenting well-researched stories has earned him a reputation as a reliable and respected journalist. Over the years, Charles has covered a wide range of topics, from local news and politics to international affairs and in-depth investigative pieces. Throughout his career, Charles has demonstrated exceptional skills in investigative journalism, political reporting, and feature writing. His ability to dissect complex issues and present them in a clear, engaging manner has won him numerous accolades and the trust of his readers. Charles is known for his commitment to unbiased reporting and his relentless pursuit of the facts, which has made him a cornerstone of the journalistic community.