Interior ministry confirms Rohani has lead
Rohani leads in Iran presidential vote, Iranian source says
Iran: 70 percent turnout in election
Voting ends in Iran presidential election
Iranians began voting on Friday in a closely-fought presidential contest between pragmatist President Hassan Rohani and hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi that could determine the pace of social and economic reform and Iran's re-engagement with the world.
State television showed long queues outside polling stations in several cities and said 56 million Iranians out of the more than 80 million population were eligible to vote.
Polls close at 6 P.M. local time, although authorities often extend voting into the evening. Ballot counting will start at midnight and final results are expected within 24 hours of polls closing, the semi-official Fars news agency said. The elections are also for city and village councils.
Meet Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian hardliner accused of purging dissidents
A former protegee of Khamenei, Raisi wears a black turban, which in Shi’a tradition, signifies that he is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He heads the Imam Reza Shrine, a religious foundation with reported assets of $14 million.
His campaign has gained traction through his fiery populist rhetoric. He has vowed to create 1.5 million more jobs a year and to triple cash handouts to the religious poor - though Iran is extremely strapped for cash.