Iranian voters weary of years of economic isolation and tightening political restrictions threw down a blunt demand for change on Saturday by handing a moderate cleric a landslide victory in a presidential election.
Having waited throughout Friday night and most of Saturday, millions of Iranians at home and abroad greeted Hassan Rowhani’s victory with a mix of euphoria and relief that eight years under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were finally over.
That Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, trounced hardline “Principlist” rivals most loyal to the theocratic system and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Friday’s contest left many in the Islamic Republic in shock.
A second surprise was that the country’s first presidential poll since a disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad in 2009appeared to be free and fair.
Iran info-graph (Al Arabiya)