Iran Moderate Wins Presidential Election Cleric Hasan Rowhani takes more than 18M votes By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jun 15, 2013 7:55 AM CDT Updated Jun 15, 2013 11:35 AM CDT 63 comments Comments Iranian presidential candidate Hasan Rowhani casts his ballot during presidential elections at a polling station in downtown Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) (Newser) – Cleric Hasan Rowhani will be Iran's next president. The country's Interior minister announced today that Rowhani—considered the most moderate candidate in the race—has won this weekend's presidential election, gaining more than 18 million votes—just over 50% of the 36.7 million cast, which is all he needs to avoid a runoff and secure the victory, the BBC reports. In a distant second place, Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf had six million votes. Turnout for the election was 72% of Iran's 50 million eligible voters. Rowhani has been a backer of women's rights and extending freedoms, the New York Times reports. "This outcome was not something planned by Ayatollah Khamenei," Iran's supreme leader, says one Iran expert; another points to "a hidden but huge reservoir of reformist energy in Iran that broke loose in a true political wave." But Khamenei, who yesterday slammed what he called US suspicion of the election, tweeted support for the process: "A vote for any of these candidates is a vote for the Islamic Republic and a vote of confidence in the system." Despite Rowhani's win, the supreme leader retains the real power, the Times notes.