TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians voted Friday in the country’s first election since its landmark nuclear deal with world powers, deciding whether to further empower moderates backing President Hassan Rouhani or support hard-liners long suspicious of the West. The elections for Iran’s parliament and a powerful clerical body known as the Assembly of Experts are tightly controlled by the establishment headed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which ultimately determines who can run.

But within the range allowed by the Islamic Republic, the voting may provide a referendum on Rouhani’s policies – and his promises that the nuclear deal, the lifting of most international sanctions and a greater degree of opening to the West can help boost a battered economy.

Nearly 55 million of Iran’s 80 million people were eligible to vote. Participation figures and other statistics were not immediately available, though Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli predicted late Thursday there would be a turnout of 70 percent.

Polls had been scheduled to close at 6 p.m., but the Interior Ministry said it would extend voting time until 11:45 p.m. in the capital. Authorities said election workers had begun counting ballots after that.

In Tehran, voter Hossein Gerami said he backed reformists to support Rouhani.

“The country suffered under hard-liners,” he said. “Today is the time to change Iran for the better.”

The nuclear deal has been the centerpiece of Rouhani’s policies since he was elected in 2013 – and the sealing of the deal won Iran the lifting of most international sanctions against it. Throughout, he and the negotiating team had to push against hard-liner opposition. Supreme leader Khamenei eventually gave his consent to the final result. Now reformists want to build on that opening to the world, promising improvements in the economy.