Election results show Iranians want end to confrontation - Rouhani

Image source, AP
Image caption,
President Hassan Rouhani told hardliners that "co-operation should be everyone's concern"

President Hassan Rouhani has said the outcome of Iran's parliamentary polls shows that its people want an end to confrontation with the outside world.

Mr Rouhani was making his first major speech since it became clear that moderates and reformists who support him had made major gains.

Hardliners, who opposed the nuclear deal with world powers championed by Mr Rouhani, lost control of parliament.

Two leading hardline clerics also lost their seats on the Assembly of Experts.

President Rouhani and his allies won all but one of the seats for the capital Tehran on the assembly, which may choose a successor to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76 and has suffered health problems.

There are no political parties in Iran and most candidates run in loose coalitions, so it is difficult to give the exact breakdown of the results of Friday's elections.

But according to an unofficial tally by the Reuters news agency, conservatives won about 112 seats in the 290-seat parliament, reformists and centrists 90, and independents and religious minorities 29.

The Associated Press calculated that reformists won at least 85 seats, while 73 went to moderate conservatives, who supported the nuclear deal. Hardliners won only 68 seats, down from 112 in the current parliament, AP found.

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Hardliners won only 68 seats, down from 112 in the current parliament, according to one tally

Run-offs will take place in April in 59 districts where no candidate won more than 25% of the vote.

Addressing a car industry conference in Tehran on Tuesday, President Rouhani noted that "it is the votes of the people that determine the right path for the country".

He added: "People said in a clear voice to the world: 'We want moderation, not extremism.' And they said in a loud voice: 'We want interaction with the world, not confrontation.'

"And they said in a clear voice: 'We want to resolve our problems with the world through logic and reasoning and at the negotiating table.'"

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Moderates and reformists formed joined electoral lists and told supporters to vote tactically

He warned hardliners, who remain in control of the judiciary, the security forces and much of the economy, that "co-operation should be everyone's concern".

US officials had expressed hope that last year's nuclear agreement, which saw Iran limit sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions, might pave the way for greater co-operation with Tehran.

BBC Persian's Kasra Naji says the president's emphasis on co-operation is at odds with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who had said before the elections that he wanted a parliament that would stand up to the West.

Mr Rouhani's troubles with his opponents are not over, our correspondent adds, but at least he can say he is doing want the people have urged him to do.