Moderate candidate Hasan Rowhani has won Iran's presidential vote, the interior minister has declared. Rowhani captured more than 50 percent of the 36 million votes cast during the election.
Interior Minister Mohammad Mostafa Najjar said Saturday that Rowhani had received 18.6 million votes, enough to win the election outright, without a run-off poll.
Some 36.7 million people, or 72.7 percent of the electorate, had voted, said Najjar.
Conservative Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf had finished second, while hardliner Saeid Jalili was third.
In August, Rowhani will succeed outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was constitutionally limited to two consecutive terms.
Shortly after the winner was announced, supporters gathered outside the president-elect's campaign office shouting "Rowhani, take care of the country" and "Ahmadi, bye bye," referring to Iran's outgoing leader.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his "congratulations to the people and to [Rowhani]" on his victory, his website reported.
"I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleages in the government, as he is the president of the whole nation," he said.
The only cleric among the six candidates approved for the election, Rowhani formerly headed Iran's nuclear negotiating team during the early 2000s. He has said there will be "no surrender" to western demands in talks on the country's nuclear program, but has vowed for a more constructive approach.
He has also promised to restore diplomatic ties with the United States, which have been severed since the 1979 revolution and seziure of the US embassy.
The lone moderate candidate in the race, Rowhani was supported by reformists and has promised to end what he called the "eight-year dark era" of Ahmadinejad by promoting freedom of expression and the press. He has long been an outspoken critic of Ahmadinejad and accuses him of being needlessly hostile with the international community.
Rowhani, 64, served in parliament from 1980 until 2000, when he became a member of the Assembly of Experts, the body that oversees the work of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He also held Iran's top security post as secretary of the supreme national security council from 1989 to 2005.
dr/ipj (dpa, AFP, AP)