With more than half of the votes counted in Iran’s presidential election the more moderate of the six candidates, Hassan Rohani, is in the lead.
The latest figures give Iran’s former lead nuclear negotiator over fourteen million votes, or just under 51% of the total, a huge lead over the second-placed candidate Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, the two-times elected Mayor of Tehran, who for the moment has just under 16% of the vote, 10 million fewer than Rohani.
Around 50 million votes are up for grabs, so these are early days yet in the count, with most collated results so far in from urban areas.
Estimated turnout is between 70 and 80%.
Iran’s current lead nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is trailing in fourth place with just over 11%. If a candidate wins over 50% of the vote no second round is needed, forestalling the need for a second-round run-off between the two leading candidates in a week’s time.
While few expect the eventual winner to take Iran in any radically different direction, it is believed Rohani would take a less confrontational foreign policy line than outgoing president Mahmoud Amadinejad.
A number of polling stations stayed open for five extra hours due to the numbers of electors queuing outside.