Iran: Rouhani leads initial count; over 70 percent turnout

A supporter holds a poster of Iranian presidential candidate cleric Ebrahim Raisi, the main challenger of President Hassan Rouhani, out

Joyful voters cast their ballots for the presidential election at a polling station in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 19, 2017. Millions of

Voters line up to get ballots to cast for the presidential and municipal councils election as some of them work with their cell phones

Voters fill in their ballots while voting for the presidential and municipal councils election at a polling station in Tehran, Iran, Fr

Supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani flash the victory sign from their car outside a polling station for the presidential and

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says incumbent President Hassan Rouhani is ahead of his nearest competitor in an initial count of votes in the election.

Interior Ministry deputy minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi told journalists in a televised news conference Saturday morning that over 40 million Iranians voted in Friday's election. That puts turnout above 70 percent.

Ahmadi says the initial vote count has the moderate cleric Rouhani with 14.6 million votes. Hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi has 10.1 million votes.

Ahmadi says the Interior Ministry hopes to have final results later Saturday.

The Islamic Republic's first presidential election since the 2015 nuclear accord drew surprisingly large numbers of voters to polling stations, with some reporting waiting in line for hours to cast their votes. Election officials extended voting hours at least three times.