Reformist Candidate Has Big Lead in Iran Presidential Election

But probably won't wield much power regarding nuclear issues


The man poised to take the Iranian presidency is a moderate-conservative known for his negotiating skill over the country's nuclear weapons program and a reformist some hardliners in Iran previously saw as too liberal and conciliatory, analysts say.

As a result, analysts predict Hasan Rowhani, who took a wide lead in early returns from Friday's election, might take the country's top political post and bring hope to the country's liberal classes but not wield any real power, especially on the nuclear issue.

"A president Rowhani would probably try to persuade the supreme leader that a deal on the nuclear issue would be in the interest of the Islamic Republic, especially if Rowhani believes that it is the only way to avoid a war," said Bruno Tertrais, a senior researcher at Fondation pour la Recherche Strategique (Foundation for Strategic Research) in Paris. "But (Supreme Leader) Khamenei will remain the ultimate decision-maker."