The Latest: Celebrations across Tehran after Rouhani win

AP News
Posted: May 20, 2017 1:27 PM
The Latest: Celebrations across Tehran after Rouhani win

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on Iran's presidential election (all times local):

10 p.m.

Tens of thousands of supporters of President Hassan Rouhani have poured into the streets of Tehran as night falls to celebrate the incumbent's re-election.

The impromptu rallies snarled traffic in the center of the capital, leaving many drivers to abandon their stuck cars in the middle of major roads.

In the capital's central Vali-e-Asr Square, revelers shot off fireworks and chanted in support of opposition leader Mir Hussein Mousavi, who has been under house arrest since 2011. A massive billboard featuring the Iranian flag and urging citizens to vote loomed above the square.


9:30 p.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called upon Iran's president to end all support and financing of terrorist groups now that he has won re-election.

Speaking Saturday in Saudi Arabia, Tillerson said President Hassan Rouhani now has the opportunity to end Iran's role in supporting "destabilizing forces that exist in this region."

He also expressed his hope that Iran puts an end to its ballistic missile testing and "restores the rights of Iranians to freedom of speech, to freedom of organization, so Iranians can live the life they deserve."

He would not comment on his expectations following the outcome of Friday's election in Iran, only saying that "if Rouhani wanted to change Iran's relationship with the rest of the world those are the things he could do."

Tillerson was speaking at a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.


8:15 p.m.

The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah has congratulated Iran's President Hassan Rouhani for being re-elected to a second term in office saying the wide participation in the vote proves to the world "the greatness of the (Iranian) people and the Islamic rule."

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's comment came in a letter sent to Rouhani Saturday in which he praised the "freedom and sovereignty that the Iranian people enjoy in a region where people are mostly ruled by dictatorial regimes."

Nasrallah was apparently referring to gulf Arab nations that list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Iran is the main backer of Hezbollah and has been financing and arming the militant group since it was founded in the early 1980s.


7:40 p.m.

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.

Rouhani, speaking in a televised speech after he won the election with a 57-percent majority out of more than 41 million votes, said the election showed Iran is ready to promote friendly global relations "based on mutual respect and its national interests."

However he added that Iranians will not accept "humiliation and threats, this is the most important message that our nation expects to be heard by all — particularly world powers."

Under Rouhani, Iran reached a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement that capped Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions.


5:10 p.m.

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

Borge Brende says he echoes the sentiment of Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who said Rouhani's re-election sends a message that Iran could be serious about instituting reforms.

Rouhani won by a wide margin, giving the moderate cleric a second four-year term to see out his agenda pushing for greater freedoms and outreach to the wider world.

The 68-year-old incumbent secured a commanding lead of 57 percent in a race that drew more than seven out of every 10 voters to the polls.


5 p.m.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is one of the first world leaders to congratulate President Rouhani on his re-election. Assad's government is strongly backed by Tehran.

A statement released by Assad's office said the Syrian president has sent a letter to Rouhani congratulating him on the "confidence that the Iranian people gave to him to go forward in boosting Iran's status in the region and the world."

Assad said Syria would continue to work and cooperate with the Islamic Republic of Iran "in what boosts security and stability in the two countries, the region and the world."


3:45 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory message to Hassan Rouhani after his re-election as President of Iran.

A statement on Kremlin website Saturday did not give the text of the message, but said Putin "confirmed his readiness to continue active joint work on the further development of Russian-Iranian partnership cooperation both on the bilateral and international agenda."

Russia is a key ally for Iran, with Russia supplying Tehran with weapons including the S-300 mobile long-range missile system. Russian engineers last year began expanding Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant.

In addition, Russia and Iran are two of the three so-called guarantors of an initiative to establish "safe zones" in Syria.


2:50 p.m.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has won re-election by a wide margin, giving the moderate cleric a second four-year term to see out his agenda pushing for greater freedoms and outreach to the wider world.

The 68-year-old incumbent secured a commanding lead of 57 percent in a race that drew more than seven out of every 10 voters to the polls. Rouhani's nearest rival in the four-man race, hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi, secured 38 percent of the vote.

More than 99 percent of the ballots have been counted.


1:10 p.m.

Iran's state television has declared incumbent President Hassan Rouhani the winner of the country's presidential election, giving him a second four-year term to see out his agenda calling for greater freedoms and outreach to the wider world.

State TV offered its congratulations in a brief statement Saturday, based on vote tallies.

The 68-year-old has come to embody more liberal and reform-minded Iranians' hopes for greater political freedom at home and better relations with the outside world.

Preliminary vote tallies earlier had Rouhani ahead with 22.8 million votes, out of 38.9 million counted so far. Officials say more than 40 million people voted.


9 a.m.

Iran says incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is ahead of his nearest competitor in an initial count of votes in the election.

Interior Ministry deputy minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told journalists in a televised news conference Saturday morning that over 40 million Iranians voted in Friday's election. That puts turnout above 70 percent.

Ahmadi says the initial vote count has the moderate cleric Rouhani with 14.6 million votes. Hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi has 10.1 million votes.

Ahmadi says the Interior Ministry hopes to have final results later Saturday.

The Islamic Republic's first presidential election since the 2015 nuclear accord drew surprisingly large numbers of voters to polling stations, with some reporting waiting in line for hours to cast their votes. Election officials extended voting hours at least three times.