Tehran mayor quits race for Iran presidency

Cheryl Sanders
May 22, 2017

There are now four candidates running for presidency, including Rouhani, Ebrahim Raeisi, Mostafa Hashemitaba and Mostafa Mirsalim.

"I should take an important decision to keep the unity of revolutionary forces".

Khamenei hasn't officially endorsed Raisi, but he has kept up criticism of Rouhani, which is at least marking out what Iran's Supreme Leader expects from a second-term Rouhani. However, at the end Qalibaf gave up the bid for the presidential post and insisted that he will use all his energy for Raisi's victory in the race to unseat the "incapable" incumbent government. "In Tehran, his votes will go mainly to Rouhani but outside Tehran his supporters will vote for Raisi", said political analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

Ghalibaf and Raisi clashed with Rouhani during last Friday's nationally televised debate.

"Not all of Qalibaf's supporters will move to Raisi, but he does provide some capacity for conservatives to unite", said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington. It also suggests that Iran's election will be decided in the first round, which requires the victor to get over 50 percent of the total vote.

In the last election in 2013, the former Revolutionary Guards commander and police chief came a distant second to Mr Rouhani with 16.5% of the vote.

Rouhani alluded to this controversy during a campaign rally recently, saying: "The people of Iran will announce in this election that they don't accept those who only knew executions and prison for 38 years".

"Iran's political right has been scrambling to field a single candidate that could push back against" Rouhani's coalition of technocrats, pragmatists and reformers, Taleblu said.

At the same time, they've focused on economic populism, denouncing Rouhani, a pragmatic Conservative, for failing to alleviate poverty and to provide the economic benefits he promised would flow from the signing of a nuclear deal with global powers.

However, other sanctions which were subsequently slapped on Iran by the USA - and a more hostile administration under Donald Trump - appear to have given conservatives more significance.

Two other minor candidates are expected to withdraw before Friday, making the race a showdown between Raisi and Rouhani, clerics who hold strongly opposing views of Iran's future. "I ran as candidate to make the voice of reformists heard", said Jahangiri.

Other reports by iNewsToday