Iran media hail president-elect as ‘sheikh of hope’

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The election of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani as Iranian president signals a return of hope and reforms and that the people desire a policy of moderation over extremism, newspapers said on Sunday.

“A salute to Iran and to the Sheikh of hope,” the pro-reformist Etemad daily declared on its front-page over a color picture of a smiling Rowhani flashing a V-for-victory sign.

“The sun of my moderation has risen,” said Arman, another pro-reformist publication.

Rowhani was declared Iran’s new president on Saturday, ending eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conservative grip on the top job that had isolated the Islamic republic internationally.

Shargh, another reformist daily, said Rowhani’s election means “the return of hope and victory for reformers and moderates” who backed his candidacy against the divided conservatives in Friday’s election.

Conservative newspapers said the 64-year-old Rowhani’s win was a “victory of the Iranian people.”

It reiterated a message from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in praise of the conduct of the vote in which 72.7 percent of the electorate turned out.

“The real winner is the Iranian people,” said Tehran Emrooz, which had campaigned for Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the conservative mayor of the Iranian capital who came a distant second.

The conservative daily Jomhuri Eslami said Rowhani’s choice is “Iran’s yes to moderation and no to extremism.”

Rowhani, it said, “sends the message that Iranians hate extremist thought and want moderation [as the policy] that runs the country.”

But it added that “moderate does not signify compromise with the dominant powers and forgetting rights of the Iranian people. The president must use reason and logic for recognising their rights.”

Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator who has championed more constructive engagement with world powers, was declared the outright winner with 50.68 percent of votes cast in the election.

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