TEHRAN – Veteran parliamentarian and former health minister Masoud Pezeshkia" />

Pezeshkian wins Iran’s presidential election amidst increased voter turnout

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TEHRAN – Veteran parliamentarian and former health minister Masoud Pezeshkian has emerged victorious in Iran’s runoff presidential election, defeating former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in a tight race.

The Interior Ministry announced Pezeshkian’s victory on Saturday, marking the conclusion of an election that saw significant voter participation despite numerous challenges.

In his first remarks since being declared the winner, Pezeshkian extended his regards to all Iranians. “We will extend the hand of friendship to everyone; we are all people of this country; we should use everyone for the progress of the country,” he said on national television.

Later, he took to X (formerly Twitter) to thank the Iranian people for their trust, pledging not to let them down. “Dear people of Iran, the elections are over and this is just the beginning of our togetherness. The difficult path ahead will not be smooth except with your companionship, empathy, and trust. I extend my hand to you and I swear on my honor that I will not leave you alone on this path. Don’t leave me alone.”

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi also expressed his gratitude to the voters and congratulated Pezeshkian on his victory. “Thanks God, the 14th presidential election ended in full security, soundness, and serious competition of candidates and the participation of over 30 million people of Iran, and the ninth president of Iran was elected. Mr. Masoud Pezeshkian was elected as the head of the 14th government, and I would like to congratulate him,” Vahidi said.

Vahidi addressed previous analyses and efforts suggesting that elections in Iran held no meaning, asserting that the results proved these claims invalid. He thanked everyone who contributed to creating a positive election atmosphere, especially the voters, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his guidelines, senior clerics who encouraged voting, and the families of martyrs, including the late President Ebrahim Raisi.

The runoff election, held on Friday, was a response to the June 28 ballot, a snap election to find a successor to President Raisi, who tragically died in a helicopter crash. Pezeshkian initially ran against a field of five candidates, securing the largest number of votes but falling short of a majority, which led to the runoff against Jalili.

The runoff began at 8 a.m. local time at nearly 59,000 polling stations nationwide and abroad. The voting period was extended three times, each for two hours, due to high voter turnout. Electoral authorities reported that Pezeshkian received 16,384,403 votes, while Jalili garnered 13,538,179 out of over 30 million votes cast.

The Election Headquarters Spokesperson Mohsen Eslami announced the results, stating that the total number of votes cast was 30,530,157, with a turnout of 49.8 percent. Eslami highlighted that Pezeshkian’s victory was achieved with over 42 percent of the total votes in the first round of the presidential election.

The Leader cast his ballot at a polling station in Tehran and emphasized the election’s importance, calling it “an important political affair of the country.”

Pezeshkian, 69, is a cardiac surgeon. He was the parliament’s first deputy speaker from 2016 to 2020 and served as health minister between 2001 and 2005 under former President Mohammad Khatami. He had previously run for president in 2013, withdrawing from the race, and failed to qualify in his second attempt in 2021.

The strong turnout and the determination of the Iranian people to participate in the electoral process, despite facing harassment and violence, underscore their commitment to democratic principles and their hope for a better future under Pezeshkian’s leadership.