Rohani in lead of Iran’s presidential race as vote-counting continues

Ballots still being counted sustain the reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rohani's lead of just over 50 percent of the vote for Iranian president  – well ahead of Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s under 15 percent. Saeed Jalili, the contestant preferred by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, lags further behind. If Rohani stays over the fifty-percent mark, a run-off vote next week will be avoided. Turnout was high among the 50 million Iranians eligible to vote in Friday’s election for the successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. DEBKAfile: Rohani gathered around him a solid front of “reformists” led by former presidents Hashem Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatemi, who dropped their own candidate Mohammed Reza Aref in favor of the soft-spoken Rohani, whereas the Khamenei and Revolutionary Guards camps ran on opposing tracks: The pro-Khamenei Jalili and Ali Akbar Velayati ran against each other, and Qalibaf, the Revolutionary Guards man, stayed in the race too.



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