On election day in Iran, signs of high voter turnout are a good omen for President Rouhani

Iranians went to the polls Friday in their first presidential election since the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, with early signs suggesting enthusiastic support for incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

Long lines formed outside polling places in northern and western Tehran, middle-class districts that are strongholds for Rouhani, a relative moderate who was locked in a two-man race with arch-conservative former prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi.

In working-class southern Tehran, a bastion of conservatives, lines were shorter but many voters said they had cast their ballots for Rouhani.

“I think Rouhani has done great in foreign policy, and economically he has checked inflation,” said Husain Bajdan, a spiky-haired 18-year-old who was lined up outside a mosque in southern Tehran to vote in his first election.

“He can do more in the years to come.”

Voting hours were extended past the usual 6 p.m. deadline to accommodate the turnout. By evening, 20 million voters had cast ballots out of 56 million who were eligible, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, with many voters still reportedly waiting in line.