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Masoud Pezeshkian, defeated his ultraconservative rival to become the next president of Iran

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Masoud Pezeshkian, defeated his rival to become the next president of Iran, campaigning on more social freedoms and engagement with the West and describing his victory as the start of “a new chapter” for the country.

In a speech Saturday, Pezeshkian, 69, vowed to be a leader for “all Iranians” and said the government must be held accountable and “move forward with reforms.” He also acknowledged widespread public apathy — voter turnout was only 50 percent — and said he hopes to bring Iranians relief from U.S. sanctions and the threat of war.

“I have come… to seek lasting peace and tranquility and cooperation in the region, as well as dialogue and constructive interaction with the world,” Pezeshkian said from Tehran at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The candidate, a lawmaker from Tabriz, was one of six contenders approved by Iran’s influential Guardian Council to run for the presidency after Ebrahim Raisi, who was elected in 2021, died in a helicopter crash in May.

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