Hassan Rouhani wins Iran presidential election

Reformist-backed cleric Hassan Rouhani has won Iran’s presidential election, securing just over 50% of the vote and so avoiding the need for a run-off.

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was well behind in second place.

Turnout was estimated at 72.2% among the 50 million Iranians who were eligible to vote to choose a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was ineligible to stand again.

Mr Rouhani has pledged greater engagement with Western powers.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is scheduled to ratify the vote on 3 August.

The new president will then take the oath in parliament.

Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated Mr Rouhani on his victory.

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Iran May Hang Imprisoned U.S. Pastor

An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith, the Washington Free Beacon reports. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities, and the U.S. State Department expressed “serious concerns” about his situation on Friday. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said: “This is an extremely critical time for American pastor Saeed and his family. We now know with certainty, from his own words, the brutality and life-threatening danger he faces in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison.

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Israeli attack on Iran ‘would damage UK economy’

The Defence Secretary said that a “third party attack” on Iran’s nuclear programme could choke oil supplies from the Gulf, driving up oil prices.

That would then have “a direct effect” on the UK economic recovery, he told MPs and peers.

Mr Hammond was giving evidence to Parliament’s joint committee on national security strategy when he was asked about the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear programme.

He replied: “Firstly, the Government firmly believes we should continue to pursue the diplomatic route in persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambtions, but in doing so we should take nothing off the table.”

However, he added, a military confrontation with Iran could have harmful economic consequences.

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Israel under siege

The dictators have fallen one by one. Several more look likely to fall soon, and few will miss them. But as popular revolutions approach their demise, something else has come along. In one country after another, the Muslim Brotherhood — the fundamentalist revolutionary Islamic party founded in 1920s Egypt — and other Islamist parties have used the ballot box for their own ends. After decades of repression and opposition, they have finally come to power. The era of the Islamists has begun, and as recent events in the Middle East have demonstrated, the world they create will not only look very different but be far more dangerous for Israel and beyond.

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Ahmadinejad plays the apocalyptic card

Well you weren’t expecting that, were you? When the American contingent decided that it wasn’t going to listen to the UN speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran yesterday, it wasn’t because they were going to get a lecture on the principles of Twelver Shi’ism.

They can’t have foreseen (can they?) that Mr Ahmadinejad would get through an entire half hour without any reference to wiping Israel off the map, Jewish evil, or 9/11 conspiracy theories. He didn’t even talk about that video.

Instead, he gave us a lecture about the return of the Mahdi, the Shia Messiah, in the company of Jesus Christ, at the end of time, and the new reign of justice and peace he would unveil.

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Iran near self-sufficiency in submarine industry: Navy cmdr.

Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the Islamic Republic is on the threshold of self-sufficiency in the submarine industry.

“Today, the Islamic Iran has reached the threshold of self-sufficiency in manufacturing, equipping and repairing the most complicated and modern types of submarines in the world,” Sayyari said Wednesday.

He added that the production of submarine equipment has also been completely localized over the past decade.

Iran has so far launched different classes of advanced submarines including Fateh, Ghadir, Qaem and Nahang.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Navy also launched the super-heavy Tareq 901 submarine, overhauled by Iranian experts.

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Israel could probably destroy only two of Iran’s nuclear plants – it would take America to do the rest

I’ve often expressed doubt about whether Israel’s air force has the striking power to inflict enough damage on Iran’s nuclear installations to make war a rational option. It’s impossible to answer this question definitively, but on balance the answer is “probably not”. A quick reminder: the key factor here is whether Israel has enough air-to-air refuelling capacity to get its strike aircraft and the necessary fighter escorts all the way to their targets in Iran and back again.

On paper, the Israeli air force has only 7 KC-707 tanker planes. It’s hard to see how this would be enough to keep the attack fleet of 125 F-15Is and F-16Is airborne for long enough.

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