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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.