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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Pezeshkian Wins Iran Presidency, Promises Pragmatic Policies

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Masoud Pezeshkian won Iran’s presidential election, urging citizens to support him through the challenges ahead. Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon, defeated hardliner Saeed Jalili in a run-off vote. He aims to promote pragmatic foreign policies, ease tensions with major powers over the stalled 2015 nuclear deal, and advocate for social liberalization and political pluralism. Despite his promises, many Iranians remain skeptical due to the ultimate authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In his victory message on social media, Pezeshkian emphasized cooperation, empathy, and trust, vowing not to abandon the people. The turnout was nearly 50%, higher than the historically low first-round turnout. The election followed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in May. Khamenei congratulated Pezeshkian and advised him to continue Raisi’s policies.

Pezeshkian’s victory is seen as a hopeful sign for Iran’s urban middle class and youth, disillusioned by years of security crackdowns. Celebrations erupted nationwide, with supporters dancing in the streets and honking car horns. His win also raised hopes for improved relations with the West, potentially easing the nuclear dispute.

However, under Iran’s dual system of clerical and republican rule, the president cannot enact major policy changes on the nuclear program or regional militia support, as Khamenei controls top state matters. Pezeshkian, supported by the reformist camp led by former President Mohammad Khatami, remains loyal to the theocratic system and does not intend to confront powerful security hawks and clerical rulers.

Foreign leaders, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sent congratulatory messages to Pezeshkian.

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