Reformist vowing to ease headscarf laws and reach out to the West is elected Iran's new president

A reformist who has vowed ease headscarf laws and reach out to the West has been elected as Iran's new president.

Masoud Pezeshkian secured 16.3 million votes in the race, finishing ahead of hardline conservative Saeed Jalili.

The vote was called after former president Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in May.

Mr Pezeshkian's victory, which follows years of economic sanctions and protests across the Islamic Republic, was confirmed by Iran's interior ministry.

Videos on social media showed his supporters dancing in towns and cities nationwide, with motorists honking car horns to celebrate.

Mr Pezeshkian - a 69-year-old heart surgeon - was the only candidate out of six considered to be a moderate.

He has vowed to revive the flagging economy - beset by mismanagement, state corruption and US sanctions - promote a pragmatic foreign policy and ease tensions over now-stalled negotiations with major powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact.

According to analysts, will largely be welcomed by world leaders.

But the president can only influence the tone of Iran's policies, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the one who has the final say on all top state matters under a dual system of clerical and republican rule.

Mr Pezeshkian might also meet resistance from the Iranian government, which is still largely held by hardliners.

The election also came amid heightened regional tensions.

In April, Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israel over the war in Gaza, while militia groups that Tehran arms in the region - such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi rebels - are engaged in the fighting and have escalated their attacks.

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Having been a politician since 2008, Mr Pezeshkian has supported the rights of ethnic minorities and has criticised the clerical establishment's suppression of political and social dissent.

In 2022, he demanded clarification from authorities about the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died in custody after she was arrested for allegedly violating a law restricting women's dress. Her death sparked months of unrest across the country.

Meanwhile Mr Jalili is a staunch advocate of deepening ties with Russia and China and has hardline views over Iran's mandatory headscarf law.