Iran's President Hassan Rouhani won a second four-year term by a significant number in that country's election, which took place Friday.
With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, the Associated Press reported Saturday that Rouhani received 57 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, Ebrahim Raisi, who is described as a hard-liner, got 38 percent of the vote in the four-man contest.
Of the roughly 56 million eligible to vote, more than 41.2 million people cast ballots, according to the Guardian.
The country's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, praised the high turnout while also criticizing other democratic systems that depend on coalitions and have lower turnout.
We derive stability not from "coalitions", but from our people, who -unlike many- do vote. Iranians must be respected & are ready to engage.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 20, 2017
"The Iranian people have spoken by coming out in record numbers to vote in Friday's presidential elections," said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council. "By continuing to engage at the ballot box, and once more demonstrating their preference for the most moderate option available, they have chosen a path of gradual transformation through peaceful participation. Once again, the Iranian people have shown their persistence to choose their own destiny and to reject all attempts to stymie that right."
The Rouhani victory was a "rebuke of Washington hawks who openly called for either a boycott of the vote or for the hard-line candidate Ebrahim Raisi to win in order to hasten a confrontation," Parsi added. He also called on the Trump administration to "unclench its fist" and lift the remaining non-nuclear sanctions on Iran.
So far the Trump administration had been cold towards Iran. In April, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit of" the Iran nuclear deal spearheaded by the Obama administration and slammed the country's sponsorship of terrorism abroad.
Activists are skeptical of the Iranian election process, and say that no matter what happens it is Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who truly controls the country.
Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, condemned what she described as a "sham" presidential election but also contends that Khamenei's failure to manipulate the election "to bring Raisi out of the ballot box and make the regime monolithic is a heavy blow for him and a sign of the regime's approaching demise."
"Rouhani's second term would only entail growing crisis and a more intense power struggle," said Rajavi. "Crisis has precipitated at the leadership level of the religious fascism and would continue until the downfall of the regime of the velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy). The heightening power struggle is a reflection of the regime's strategic failure in resolving the most pressing social problems and growing discontent."