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The New Arab

Young Iranians take to streets to celebrate Rouhani re-election

Iranians celebrated Rouhani's victory on the streets of Tehran [AFP]

Date of publication: 20 May, 2017

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While Donald Trump received a rapturous welcome in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh's regional rival saw moderate Hassan Rouhani win a vote to serve a second term as president.
Young Iranians flocked to Tehran's streets on Saturday, to celebrate the victory of moderate Hassan Rouhani in presidential elections.

Cars packed the streets and horns sounded in celebration, as Iranians carried flags and portriaits of President Rouhani who swept to victory on Saturday and will now begin a second term as president.

Rouhani faced tough competition from conservative rival Ebrahim Raisi during campaigning but trounced the former mayor in the first round - 57 to 36 percent - making him the outright winner.

Rohani expressed his gratitude to Iranian voters and promised to battle "extremists". He also said he will continue to pursue a more globalised and outward-looking Iran.

"The Iranian people want to live in peace and friendship with the rest of the world, but will not accept any threat or humiliation," he said in a victory speech, aired on national TV.

Iran was pursuing "a path of engagement with the world", he said, rejecting the populist outlook or rival Raisi.

His win coincided with a visit by US President to Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch-rival in the region.

Riyadh was a fierce opponent of Washington's closer ties with Tehran, and said to be bitter over the lifting of sanctions following a nuclear deal with the US under Barack Obama.

This relationship appears to have changed under the more hawkish new President Barack Obama, who inked one of the biggest arms deals in history with Riyadh.

"Our people have declared to neighbouring countries and the whole region that the path to ensuring security is the reinforcement of democracy and not relying on foreign powers," he said.

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