Iran's Rouhani wins 2nd term by a wide margin

Millions of Iranians flocked to polling stations on Friday to vote in the election that pits incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, who is seeking a second term, against a strong conservative opposition. The two figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, both endorsed Raisi, as did Mohammad Khatami, another reformist who served as Iran's president from 1997 to 2005.

Norway's foreign minister is welcoming the re-election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is saying that the message of Friday's election that gave him another four-year term is one of Iran living in peace and friendship with the world.

Many female drivers held out the V for victory sign and flashed their auto lights on highways to celebrate the win in Tehran's affluent north.

Trump's administration is likely to keep putting pressure on Iran over its weapons programs, as well as what it sees as Tehran's efforts to destabilize the Middle East, former USA officials and analysts said.

During the previous presidential election in June 2013, Rouhani had emerged victorious by winning 50.7 percent of a total of over 36 million votes. He is subordinate to the supreme leader, who is chosen by a clerical panel and has the ultimate say over all matters of state.

Rouhani's first comment on the win highlighted the limits on expression that still exist in Iran despite his promises for greater openness.

The election is important "for Iran's future role in the region and the world", Rouhani, who struck a deal with world powers two years ago to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions, said after voting.

Massive voter turnout Friday prompted election authorities to extend voting hours to midnight. Rouhani's nearest rival in the four-man race, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, secured 38 percent of the vote.

With results from urban areas still to be counted - and seen by analysts as more likely to favour Rouhani - the initial figures pointed towards a landslide for the incumbent.

"I think the Trump administration will remain pretty consistent on this issue".

"It makes it much more hard to isolate Iran internationally when you have a foreign minister like Zarif", said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. Raisi ran a populist campaign, vowing to fight corruption and fix the economy while boosting welfare payments to the poor.

Under Rouhani, Iran reached a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement that capped Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of global economic sanctions. The rest of the candidates trailed far behind Rouhani and Raisi, with Mostafa Mirsalim getting 297,276 votes and Mostafa Hashem Taba 139,131 votes at the latest count.

Hashemitaba was among the first to predict an outright win for Rouhani as he offered his congratulations Saturday morning.

He said he congratulated Mr Rouhani on the "confidence that the Iranian people gave to him to go forward in boosting Iran's status in the region and the world".

All candidates for elected office must be vetted, a process that excludes anyone calling for radical change, along with most reformists.

The final results announcement is expected later on Saturday.

The re-elected President will also face the challenge of navigating a tricky relationship with Donald Trump who has dubbed the nuclear agreement signed by former US President Barack Obama as "one of the worst deals ever signed".

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