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TEHRAN, June 15: Moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani was declared Iran’s new president on Saturday in a surprise and outright election victory that ended eight years of conservative grip on the top office.

“This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity... over extremism,” local media reported Mr Rowhani as saying in the first statement after his win.

A former top nuclear negotiator who championed more constructive engagement with world powers, Mr Rowhani won outright with 18.6 million votes, or 50.68 per cent of those cast, the interior minister said.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website congratulated Mr Rowhani on his victory and urged the people to work with him.

“Congratulations to the people and to president-elect Hojatoleslam Hassan Rowhani,” Mr Khamenei’s website reported.

“I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleagues in the government, as he is the president of the whole nation.”

Crowds marched through Vali-Asr Square in central Tehran carrying pictures of the winner and chanting pro-Rowhani slogans.

In northwest Tehran, people in Kaj Square cheered as passing cars sounded their horns in approval.—AFP