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Iran Elections: Young Liberal Voters Voice Fears and Hopes

NBC News reached out to supporters of President Hassan Rouhani, who was facing a re-election challenge by hard-line populist, Ebrahim Raisi, to gauge
Image: A woman holds a photo of
A woman holds a photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran.Alireza Goudarzi / via Instagram

NBC News reached out to supporters of newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who beat a challenge by hardline populist Ebrahim Raisi, to gauge their feelings about Friday's race and tell us their fears and dreams about their country's future. They shared their photos of Election Day via Instagram and thoughts via email.

Alireza Goudarzi

Alireza Goudarzi, a 32-year-old freelance documentary photographer, said he wants the president to create economic opportunities for Iranians and improve relations with other countries. His biggest fear: turning back the clock to pre-Rouhani days when sanctions crippled the economy.

"A country’s culture is based on its artists," Goudarzi said. He wants organizations to be established in Iran to help support their work both financially and culturally.

He wishes travel restrictions were eased for Iranian tourists so he could visit other countries. But he wants to live in Iran because of "the responsibility I feel for my society."

He wants Americans to visit Iran so they can see firsthand that Iranians live "in peace with each other, and want peace for the whole world."

Negin Ehtesabian

Negin Ehtesabian, a 37-year-old illustrator, said she accepts "the reality that we have limited choices. I don't see any better candidate (than Rouhani) around at the moment, even overseas." But she added: "We need to change in our society first, educate new politicians, then the top will change."

Ehtesabian, whose work adorns large murals in Tehran, said she's considered leaving Iran but wonders: "If we all leave, who is going to make this country a better place to live? I prefer to do something little here instead of running away."

"I want Americans to know we are not that different that they may think," she told us. "We share a lot more than we differ."

Farshad Khoshnoud

Farshad Khoshnoud, a 33 year-old musician whose stage name is Bakteri Xaan told us: "I want a country with a government that brings hope, happiness and comfort for people, not fear and darkness." He wants a country where "everyone can afford basic necessities and a country you enjoy living in and not always think about leaving."

"It's my country, it's my home," he said. "I have a loving attachment to this land from my heart. And I'm proud to be an Iranian."

He wants to be able to write his music without having his work approved for release by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. "Let us work in our own country and make Iran proud," he said.

Sina Sahmeddini

Sina Sahmeddini, a 26-year-old doctor who works in a hospital, said: "We've been on the right track the past four years. I hope that we keep moving in the right direction after this election."

Within a decade, Sahmeddini said, "I'd like my country to be full of tourists and have built a reputation of hospitality and kindness in the whole world. I want us to be spreading peace in our troubled region, the Middle East," Sahmeddini said.

He said he'd like to see Internet restrictions lifted. Other key issues for him: Women's inequality and interference in the private lives of citizens.

"I'd like Americans to get to know our country and our culture better instead of judging us based on the wrong picture that their media promotes. I want them to know that we are kind and friendly people, not warmongers," Sahmeddini said.

Sepideh Farvardin

Sepideh Farvardin, a 24-year-old photographer and social media specialist in an advertising agency in Tehran, said she wants Rouhani "to save Iran from wars or boycotts, make peace with all countries and improve our international relations."

While she tries not to fight her nation's restrictions ("because the more you fight, the less you enjoy life"), she hopes to see an improvement in inequality between men and women.