THE SOLE MODERATE candidate in Irans presidential election has conceded he lost to the countrys hard-line judiciary chief.
The move signalled the protege of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has won the vote he dominated after the disqualification of his strongest competition.
Former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati, who is considered a moderate, and former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei offered their congratulations to Ebrahim Raisi.
However, counting continued from yesterdays vote and authorities have yet to offer any official results.
Opinion polling by state-linked organisations, along with analysts, indicated that Raisi who already is under US sanctions was the front-runner in a field of only four candidates.
That led to widespread apathy among eligible voters in the Islamic Republic, which has previously held up turnout as a sign of support for the theocracy since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Hemmati offered his congratulations on Instagram to Raisi early today.
I hope your administration provides causes for pride for the Islamic Republic of Iran, improves the economy and life with comfort and welfare for the great nation of Iran, he wrote.
On Twitter, Rezaei praised Khamenei and the Iranian people for taking part in the vote.
God willing, the decisive election of my esteemed brother, Ayatollah Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, promises the establishment of a strong and popular government to solve the countrys problems, Rezaei wrote.
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Voters line up as they wait to cast their ballots at a polling station in Tehran, Iran,
Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
As night fell yesterday, turnout appeared far lower than in Irans last presidential election in 2017.
At one polling place inside a mosque in central Tehran, a Shiite cleric played football with a young boy as most of its workers napped in a courtyard.
At another, officials watched videos on their mobile phones as state television blared beside them, offering only tight shots of locations around the country as opposed to the long queues of past elections.
Ballots closed at 2am this morning after the government extended voting to accommodate what it called crowding at several polling places nationwide.

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