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Iran's Presidential Election

A supporter of moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani celebrates his victory in Iran's presidential election along a street in Tehran, June 16, 2013.

The U.S. regards the election of Hassan Rouhani, the decisive winner of Iran’s recent presidential election, as a potentially hopeful sign.

The United States regards the election of Hassan Rouhani, the decisive winner of Iran’s recent presidential election -- the candidate regarded as the least rigid and dogmatic among the six who ran -- as a potentially hopeful sign.

In an interview on PBS television, President Barack Obama said he believed the result showed “the Iranian people want to move in a different direction.” He noted that with their vote, “the Iranian people rebuffed the hardliners…in the election who were counseling no compromise on anything, anytime, anywhere. Clearly, you have a hunger within Iran to engage with the international community in a more positive way.”

Iran's Presidential Election
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But Mr. Obama cautioned that in Iran it is “the Supreme Leader [who] will be making a lot of decisions, and so we’re going to have to continue to see how this develops and how this evolves over the the next several weeks, months, years.”

Secretary of State John Kerry noted in a statement that “President-elect Rouhani pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians. In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people.”

Mr. Kerry praised “the courage of the Iranian people who went to the polls and made their voice heard in a rigidly controlled environment that sought to limit freedom of expression and assembly.

We remain concerned,” Secretary Kerry said, “about the lack of transparency in the electoral process, and the attempts to censor members of the media, the internet, and text messages. Despite these challenges, however, the Iranian people have clearly expressed their desire for a new and better future.”

At a press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the United States and its partners in the P5+1 group of nations have been ready to continue discussions with the Iranian government about its nuclear program, if Iran would respond substantively to the proposal the P5+1 offered at meetings with Iran that took place in Almaty Kazakhstan in April.

“The ball is in Iran’s court,” she said, noting that it is Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, not Iran’s president, who is in control of the nuclear portfolio. “There are a number of dynamics at play here, including the role of the Supreme Leader,” said Ms. Psaki, “and we’ll see what happens moving forward…We’ll see if this [election] is an opportunity for an [Iranian] reset.”