(Vatican Radio) Early results show that Moderate Iranian cleric Hassan Rohani is in the lead in the country’s presidential election. Millions of Iranians have been casting their votes for the successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The six candidates in this election are all seen as conservatives and of having the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. In recent days cleric Hassan Rohani has been reaching out to reformists and calling for a re-engagement with the West. Iranian author Hooman Majd says there could be a shift in stance towards the West even if an establishment candidate wins. Rohani received significant boosts earlier this week when reformist candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, withdrew in his favour.
His campaign was also endorsed by former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Voting was extended by several hours at polling stations across the country on Friday as millions of Iranians turned out to cast their ballot.
Press TV reported that turnout was about 80 percent.
Security has been tight and campaigns subdued compared to the euphoric rallies that preceded the last presidential election in 2009. The election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in that disputed poll started a series of deadly protests that lasted for months. Listen