Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won Friday’s presidential election in Iran, recording 62% of the vote with more than 90% of ballots counted.
Why it matters: Currently the head of Iran’s judiciary, Raisi is a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). His victory solidifies him as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei, though Friday’s low turnout speaks to the disillusionment of many Iranian voters.
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A U.S. official told Axios on Friday that the Biden administration wants to finalize an agreement with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal before Raisi takes power six weeks from now.
The latest: The more moderate outgoing president, Hassan Rouhani, met Raisi on Saturday and congratulated him on his victory.
Driving the news: Turnout was just under 50% according to Iranian media reports, much lower than in previous elections. The polls were kept open for an additional two hours to drive that number up.
Iran’s Guardian Council had disqualified all of the leading reformist candidates, essentially clearing the field for Raisi.
Former central bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati attempted to take up the reformist mantle, but he reportedly finished a distant second with only around 2.5 million votes (9%) vs. 18 million for Raisi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first foreign leader to congratulate Raisi. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah were also quick to offer congratulations.
What’s next: Raisi is expected to be sworn in during the first week of August.
Go deeper: U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran’s new president takes power
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