A prominent conservative candidate has dropped out of Iran’s presidential election to back a hardliner – in a bid to strengthen the fight to unseat President Hassan Rouhani by reducing the field to a two-man race.
The mayor of Tehran and former police chief, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, was one of the main contenders.
Justifying his decision to pull out, he called on his supporters to back Ebrahim Raisi, a Shi’ite cleric who studied under Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Qalibaf finished second in the last election four years ago but with only 16.5 percent of the vote.
The move reduces the risk of the anti-Rouhani vote being split.