Iran’s currency strengthens after Pezeshkian wins presidential election

Iran’s national currency, the rial, is still in the doldrums having lost considerable value since last year – but it regained some lost ground at market open on Saturday. It comes after Reformist candidate Masoud Pezeshkian won Iran's presidential election, securing 53.3% of the votes and defeating his principlist rival Saeed Jalili

The US dollar is changing hands for about 590,000 rials in Tehran right now, whereas it was priced at about 615,000 rials before the run-off.

Iran has experienced multiple major currency freefalls in the past 15 years on the back of local mismanagement and sanctions.

The exchange rate of the US dollar was below 40,000 rials before the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018.

Pezeshkian defeated Jalili by a margin of 2.7 million votes in results announced early Saturday. With all ballots counted, Pezeshkian secured 16.4 million votes, while Jalili received 13.5 million votes. Turnout was 30.5 million, or 49.8% of the 61 million eligible voters.

The snap election was called after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province on May 19. According to Iranian law, a candidate needs to garner at least 50% plus one vote; thus, after no candidate achieved this in the first round on June 28, the election headed into a runoff between the top two candidates.

Pezeshkian, 69, is a heart surgeon-turned-politician who served as health minister in the 2000s and as first deputy speaker of parliament from 2016 to 2020. Jalili, 58, was Tehran’s negotiator during nuclear talks with world powers.

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