Millions of Iranians have voted in the country's unexpectedly tight election which pits President Hassan Rouhani, who wants to normalise ties with the West, against a hardline judge who says he has already gone too far. Kate King reports.
Voter turn-out across Iran was high a sign those casting their ballots know the two stark directions the country could take. A vote for the incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is a nod towards the west and away from isolation while hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi - wants the country to be more self-sufficient. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "If we see Rouhani re-elected then that will maintain a presumption of Iran which is open to negotiations or discussions with Western powers and trying to remove itself from an international pariah state. If we were to see the hardline side of the equation proved to be victorious then I think that would amplify potential frictions between those different strands of Islam in the region." Rouhani championed the nuclear deal that led to economic sanctions being lifted but promised financial benefits have been slow to arrive and unemployment remains high Raisi has played on that, traveling to poor areas, pledging more welfare benefits and jobs France and Germany are among those keeping a close eye on the result both have been quick to seek trade and investment opportunities in post-sanction Iran. But with Brexit looming, the UK is also looking in that direction. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "There is plenty of scope for the sort of trade and services that Western economies can bring. So I think there's certainly quite a case to be made that a country such as the UK should be enhancing and broadening their desire to try and open up trade trade patterns and trade flows with the Iran . Although of course that's very much dependent on Mr. Rouhani proving victorious." Iran holds the world's forth biggest oil reserves but deals to help exports grow have been put on hold until after the election Only then will it know whether its coming in from the cold.