Early results in Iran elections suggest big wins for moderates
An Iranian woman presses her inked-finger on a registering paper during the parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections at a polling station at Massoumeh shrine in the holy city of Qom, south of the capital Tehran, on Feb. 26, 2016. (AFP/Behrouz Mehdi)
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a clear vote of support as his fellow moderate lawmakers made strong gains in a high-stakes parliamentary election, Reuters reported.
Tens of millions flocked to polling stations on Friday for the first time since Iran's nuclear deal was enacted, lifting crippling economic sanctions placed on the country. The elections were held for both the 290-member parliament and the 88-seat Assembly of Experts, which chooses the country's top authority, the supreme leader.
Early tallies of 1.5 million votes counted so far in Tehran - fewer than 20 percent of the capital city's eligible voters - showed Rouhani and his ally, ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in the lead for the Assembly of Experts, according to figures given by the Interior Ministry.
Reformist and moderate parliament members also seemed in position to make big strides against conservative hardliners. The elections are seen as a possible turning point for Iran - where nearly 60 percent of the population is under 30 - and could hasten Iran's re-emergence into commerce and global affairs.