London – Iran’s vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri said on Tuesday he is dropping out from the May 19 presidential election to support his ally, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.
After Jahangiri’s announcement, there are four candidates left out of the six chosen by the Iranian Guardian Council to run in May’s elections. The run-up to Iran’s race is now between two conservative candidates, Ebrahim Raisi and Mostafa Mirsalim, in addition to two moderates: Rouhani and Mostafa Hashemitaba.
The real competition remains between Rouhani and former prosecutor-general, Raisi, who is supported by a coalition of conservatives called the “Popular Front of Islamic Revolution Forces.”
On Monday, Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf withdrew from the presidential race for the benefit of Raisi, who welcomed Ghalibaf’s decision and considered the step as “revolutionary.”
Meanwhile, one day after Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karoubi had announced his support for Rouhani, another reformist leader Mirhossein Mousavi, who is under house arrest since February 2011, also said he would participate in the elections and vote for Rouhani.
Mousavi is under house arrest after he protested against the results of the 2009 presidential elections, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected for a second term.
Also on Tuesday, Rouhani said in a speech delivered from the city of Zanjan, west Tehran, that all Iranians should participate in the elections to break what he said was “the monopolization of power by one particulate group.”
Rouhani also hinted that the military forces were participating in the electoral campaign of Raisi in an illegal way.
He said those forces were telling voters they should fear the scenario of Rouhani’s reelection, because the outgoing president plans to cut off all financial aids intended to citizens.
Separately, reformist member of Parliament Mahmoud Sadeghi uncovered that security forces in civilian uniforms were sent to central Tehran ahead of cracking down the “Green Revolution Strife,” spreading fears among the reformist movement that those forces could onslaught Rouhani’s supporters in case Raisi won the elections, a development which could trigger demonstrations across the country, similar to what happened during the 2009 elections.