India has welcomed the election of Hassan Rouhani as the new president of Iran, saying the poll outcome is a "good signal" indicating greater convergence and consensus among Iranian people.
"He (Rouhani) was elected in the first round which is obviously a good signal. It indicates much greater convergence and consensus amongst people and public opinion and that's welcome position," said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
"It's an outcome of Iranian democracy. Iranian democracy has evolved over the years," said the minister, who is on a two day visit to Iraq, which is bordering Iran. Sixty-four-year-old moderate cleric Rouhani won Iranian presidential elections held on June 14. He had secured just over the 50 per cent of the vote needed to avoid a run-off.
His victory surprised many analysts who had placed conservatives as front runner for the top post "This is an outcome which was not predicted by many people," Khurshid said on Wednesday evening.
"We hope President Rouhani will lead Iran under the supreme leader's guidance in a direction that brings peace in the entire region," he added. President-elect Rouhani has expressed hope that Iran can reach an agreement with the West over its controversial nuclear programme, saying a deal should be reached through more transparency and mutual trust.
Iran is currently in a standoff with the West over its nuclear programme, which Western countries claim is aimed at covertly developing nuclear weapons. However, Iran denies charge and maintains that its atomic programme is for peaceful purpose.