Iranian women cast their ballots for the presidential elections at a polling station at the Lorzadeh mosque in southern Tehran on May 19, 2017. / AFP / ATTA KENARE
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Millions of Iranians voted late into the night Friday to decide whether incumbent President Hassan Rouhani deserves another four years in office after securing a landmark nuclear deal, or if the sluggish economy demands a new hard-line leader who could return the country to a more confrontational path with the West.Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the most powerful man in Iran, symbolically cast the election's first vote.No incumbent president has failed to win re-election since 1981, when Khamenei himself became president.Iranians overseas were also voting in over 300 locations, including 55 in the U.S., where more than 1 million Iranians live.Hard-liners remain suspicious of America, decades after the 1953 U.S.-engineered coup that toppled Iran's prime minister and the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and hostage crisis in Tehran.Rouhani promised in his 2013 campaign to free the men, but that pledge so far remains unfulfilled.Iranian authorities say they believe the vote will exceed a 70 percent turnout.
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