Iran reformist drops out of election, supports Rouhani

Iran's reformist first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, on Tuesday pulled out of this week's presidential election and endorsed the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, ISNA news agency reported.

Seemingly encouraged by the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hardliners have accused incumbent Hassan Rouhani of wanting to import Western decadence and to open up Iran to the destructive power of US business.

Karoubi asked all Iranians to take part in the election and to protect the democratic process by choosing their preferred candidate, but said: "I will vote for Rouhani".

President Rouhani is seen as a moderate rather than a reformist, but was a key figure behind a nuclear deal with the West and other world powers. "But some of Galibaf's votes will go to Rouhani', as moderate conservatives will vote for him", she explained.

Voicing his full support for the 68-year-old president, he vowed to do everything in his power so that Rouhani could secure a victory in the upcoming election.

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The news Qalibaf was standing down broke as Raisi was delivering a speech in Shiraz, thrilling his supporters.

Iranian cleric and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, center, stands among his supporters, during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, April 29, 2017.

The voting date for the 12th presidential and 5th city and council elections is May 19.

This would be the first time Karroubi votes in any election since his arrest.

"Vote for Rouhani because he is the man for hard situations..."

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Raisi, a former attorney general, serves as the head of the Imam Reza charity foundation, which manages a vast conglomerate of businesses and endowments in Iran.

Qalibaf had been under pressure from fellow hard-liners to fall in behind Raisi.

Analysts have said Raisi might name Qalibaf as his vice-president to appeal to technocrats, although neither of them has responded to such predictions.

Raisi's human rights record has troubled many. Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions. Trump, who has called the nuclear deal a "disaster", put Iran "on notice" after it tested a missile test this year, and has pleased the U.S.'s Sunni Gulf Arab allies by vowing to confront growing Iranian influence in the region.

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