Iranian Vice President Drops Out Of Presidential Race, Backs Rohani

Iran's presidential election became a two-man race Tuesday when the country's incumbent vice president and Tehran's mayor dropped out ahead of Friday's vote.

It was assumed Jahangiri ran to back up Rouhani in pre-election debates and he said at his registration that he stood "side-by-side" with the president who is seeking a second four-year mandate.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a figure in the principlist political faction who struggled to drum up support for his presidential campaign by hammering President Rouhani, dropped out of race on Monday in favor of Raisi. The reformist candidate has dropped out of Iran's presidential election and thrown his support behind President Hassan Rouhani, in a widely expected move that will strengthen the incumbent's campaign against a hard-liner.

Ghalibaf joined Raisi onstage at a rally Tuesday in Tehran and they clasped hands.

Both Qalibaf and Raisi have said that Rohani has failed to translate a 2015 deal with global powers, which restricted Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions, into a better life for Iranians.

Jahanigir, who was previously a protégé of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, has also been an important link between the technocrats and the centrists allied to Rouhani.

Raisi is believed to be Rouhani's main rival in the race but it's not clear if Raisi will be unable to unseat him.

Iranian elections are overseen by a clerical body that vets candidates and bars anyone seen as posing a challenge to Iran's unique brand of theocratic rule.

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