Ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election with an overwhelming majority of votes, according to official figures announced on state TV.
Figures given by Mr Orf indicate that turnout was 48 per cent, one of the lowest in the history of the Islamic Republic, with Mr Raisi securing 62 per cent of ballots cast.
Mr Raisi secured 17.8 million votes and the only moderate candidate in the race, Mr Abdolnaser Hemmati, came third with 2.4 million ballots, Mr Jamal Orf, head of Iran’s presidential election headquarters said in a statement, adding that 90 per cent of ballots have been counted so far.
Millions of voters stayed home after most moderate and reformist candidates were disqualified from running.
The victory for Mr Raisi, 60, may complicate efforts to restore a landmark nuclear accord that has major implications for Middle East security and oil markets.
The US’ exit from the nuclear deal under former President Donald Trump empowered ultra-conservatives who were always heavily critical of the accord and won control of Parliament last year.
Earlier on Saturday, pro-reform candidate Mr Hemmati, who stepped aside as Central Bank governor to run for president, congratulated Mr Raisi in an Instagram post.
President Hassan Rouhani congratulated Mr Raisi in person, according to state television.
An austere cleric who’s deeply hostile to the West, Mr Raisi has been very critical of the 2015 nuclear accord yet told voters during his campaign that he intended to preserve it.
Washington’s withdrawal from the deal sent tensions soaring in the Persian Gulf, fueling regional conflicts and prompting Teheran to abandon constraints on its nuclear programme contained in the accord and enrich uranium close to the level needed for a bomb.
His election comes as world powers are trying to broker the revival of the beleaguered agreement at talks in Vienna before Mr Rouhani leaves office in the coming months.
Mr Raisi has been the country’s judiciary chief since 2019. He ran in the 2017 presidential election but lost to Mr Rouhani, having secured 38 per cent of votes.
The cleric was sanctioned in 2019 by the Trump administration, which cited his role in a deadly crackdown a decade earlier on protesters alleging vote fraud.
Mr Raisi is also seen as the favorite to one day succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Human-rights groups say he was a presiding judge in mass executions of political prisoners in 1988, something he has never publicly addressed.