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Iran Heads to Presidential Runoff

State of the Union: The hardline Saeed Jalili is poised to win next Friday.
Ahead of Iranian presidential election

The hardline Saeed Jalili and the reformist Masoud Pezeshkian are headed to a second-round runoff election after no candidate secured a winning share of the vote in Friday’s Iranian presidential election.

Per the Associated Press, Pezeshkian, who favors a softer approach to the West, took 10.4 million votes to Jalili’s 9.4 million in the lowest-turnout election of the Islamic Republic’s history. The remaining 4.7 million votes were split between other candidates or voided. Jalili, a former nuclear negotiator for the late President Ibrahim Raisi, is expected to pull ahead after the conservative vote consolidates in next Friday’s runoff.


The election comes as the Israel–Gaza war inflames regional tensions. In April, Iran launched its first-ever direct missile attack against Israel in retaliation for an Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate in Syria. The elections, occasioned by Raisi’s death in a May 19 helicopter crash, appear to come on the eve of expanded Israeli operations against Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah.