News / Middle East

    Iranian President-Elect Addresses Nation After Surprise Victory

    A supporter of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani celebrates his victory in Iran's presidential election along a street in Tehran, June 16, 2013.
    A supporter of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani celebrates his victory in Iran's presidential election along a street in Tehran, June 16, 2013.
    VOA News
    Iran's President-elect Hassan Rowhani has hailed his win in the country's election as a victory over "extremism," as thousands of his supporters celebrated Sunday in the streets of Tehran.

    In his first public statement since Friday's vote, the reformist cleric called his election a victory of moderation and intelligence over extremism.

    Many analysts see Rowhani's surprise victory as a popular repudiation of the conservative hardliners in the race.

    The president-elect has vowed to improve ties with the international community, although Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the final say in all strategic matters, including nuclear policy.

    Rowhani, a former chief nuclear negotiator and the favorite of reformists, earned slightly more than 50 percent of the vote - close to 19 million out of nearly 37 million counted.  His closest competitor among five other candidates was Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, who received about 16 percent of the vote.  Turnout was more than 70 percent.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Rowhani and encouraged Iranian authorities and the president-elect to play a "constructive role" in regional and international affairs.

    The Obama administration also congratulated the Iranian people for their participation in the election.  But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Iran's election took place amid what he called "government obstacles and limitations," including censorship of the media, an intimidating security environment and a lack of transparency.

    Carney said the U.S. hopes Iran's government will heed its people's will and make choices that create a better future for them.  He reiterated the U.S. willingness to engage Iran directly to reach a diplomatic solution to concerns about its nuclear program.

    Rowhani will take on an economy struggling with high unemployment and inflation, and crippled by international sanctions for the country's disputed nuclear program.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday cautioned the international community not to ease sanctions on Iran because of "wishful thinking" following Rowhani's election.  He called Iran's alleged pursuit of atomic weapons the "greatest threat to world peace," and pointed out that Iran's supreme leader, not the president, is the person who determines nuclear policy.

    Iran's presidential vote was the first since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009 spawned widespread protests and a bloody crackdown by the government.  Ahmadinejad, known internationally for his hostility toward the U.S. and Israel, was barred by law from a third term.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
    June 17, 2013 6:16 AM
    First of all I congratulate to Iran and Irani peoples to have peaceful election without any blood. Which is now a days completely impossible even in so called civilised society. Now I request to elected President to give more and more attention on domestic issues. We cannot survive in this world if there is increase in social problems and there is no downfall in graph. Iran enemy or enemies will take full advantage of these social problems and they can create problems for Iran. In the end we wish bright future for iran and irani peoples under new President.

    by: Wilf Tarquin from: Tonga
    June 17, 2013 12:42 AM
    The title of President is largely ceremonial in Iran, the power rests with the guardian council of mullahs, and ultimately with Supreme Leader for life Ayatollah Khamenei. The job of the president is to act as right-hand man and mouthpiece to Khamenei.

    In short, nothing's changed in Iran. The elections exist to give the people an illusion of self-government, but Iran is and remains a dictatorship, and nothing will change until the dictator, Khamenei, is deposed.
    In Response

    by: Dave from: UK
    June 18, 2013 2:31 AM
    Although Khamenei has a lot of power, a lot of things do change under different presidencies, like we've seen it before during Khatami's presidency when Iran had the best foreign relations with the west. The interior affairs also was better, people had much more freedom. President has a lot of power. However Khamenei is in charge of all armed forces and sometimes reconciles the disputes between politicians, or between the government and the congress. It's not a monarchy.

    by: Nora Dylan from: USA
    June 16, 2013 10:20 PM
    to all the Iranians here... listen... isn't it a humiliation to be considered as incompetent by your own Mullahs...?? Velayat-e faqih... the custody of the idiots... LOL... where is your pride...??
    In Response

    by: Arash from: Iran
    June 18, 2013 2:38 AM
    That's why we voted for a reformist candidate. He's going to create a free atmosphere for different newspapers and let new ideas publish what they want. This freedom of ideas is a step towards a more tenable government. If we didn't vote, another hardliner would come and destroy the country. We voted someone who president Khatami endorsed. We really loved it when Khatami was our president

    by: Samuel Prime from: Canada
    June 16, 2013 7:14 PM
    I won't pretend to predict anything but only to note two possibilities that come to mind. First, on the big issues, like the stalled nuclear program, that lies squarely under the authority of Ayatollah Khamenei and not the president. As such, there may be no change on that issue (just more stalled talks). The second possibility is if the Ayatollah could seize the opportunity as a face saving device to modify his policy/approach to the nuclear issue and thereby give Rowhani more latitude in allowing the issue to progress in the way Rowhani thinks. I suspect that the first of these possibilities is the more likely one. But the second one (less likely) would help to move the nuclear issue forward. All in all, I suspect that Rowhani's tenure will not be that different from Khatami's a decade ago - so more toned down and less hotheaded than the outgoing president.
    In Response

    by: Peyman from: Iran
    June 18, 2013 2:45 AM
    What's your problem with our nuclear program? You are allowed to have nuclear weapons and don't want us to use even peaceful nuclear energy? What's the logic of that? after so many years West and America has no evident that shows we're seeking nuclear bomb. If they had. they would have attacked Iran

    by: Kevin from: Wolfer
    June 16, 2013 9:40 AM
    Jay Carney's advice on Iran's system should be heeded by his own boss, " described as "government obstacles and limitations," including a lack of transparency, censorship of the media and an intimidating security environment."
    Why doesn't Pres. Obama listen to his people?

    by: Suzi Saul
    June 16, 2013 9:22 AM
    He looks like a nice man...maybe he actually is.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.