Reformist presidential hopeful withdraws candidacy in favor of Iran's ex-president Rafsanjani
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 16 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/
A reformist politician, presidential hopeful Mohammad Shariatmadari has withdrawn his candidacy from the upcoming Iranian presidential elections in favor of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Tasnim News reported.
Shariatmadari is a former Minister of Trade under Iran's another ex-president Mohammad Khatami.
The spokesman of Shariatmadari's camp Mohsen Bahrami said that Shariatmadari met with Rafsanjani yesterday, and after holding talks with him, decided to withdraw his candidacy in favor of former president.
"In the future, an official statement will be made, and after that the members of Mr. Shariatmadari's camp will be working to support Rafsanjani," he said.
Rafsanjani, who has been Iran's president twice, joined this year's race at the last minute. He was elected chairman of the Iranian parliament in 1980 and served until 1989. Rafsanjani also served as president of Iran from 1989 to 1997.
Despite the ruling conservatives, Iran's major reformist leader, ex-president Mohammad Khatami announced his support for Rafsanjani on May 11.
Also on May 15, pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation and the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization fronts have declared they will support Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani during the presidential race.
At the elections, Rafsanjani, if approved by Iran's Guardian Council, will have strong rivals in Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, and the head of presidential office of current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei.
Iran will hold the 11th presidential election on June 14, 2013.
The voters will select the successor of the current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is not able to participate in the elections for the third term according to the country's constitutional laws.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election and the Guardian Council vets the candidates for qualifications.