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Iran’s VP withdraws from presidential race, backs Rouhani

IANS | Tehran |

Iran's first Vice President and presidential election candidate Eshaq Jahangiri announced on Tuesday to withdraw from the presidential race in order to back incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

"I will use all my power to support Rouhani and to support his programmes," Jahanigiri said in a statement, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Jahanigiri, the reformist hopeful, urged all his supporters to vote for Rouhani, said the report.

He further expressed hope that Rouhani will win the election by a landslide so he could improve the country's future.

Concerns over "democracy, freedom, economy and the country's progress" will enable officials to overcome difficulties, he added.

On Monday, Tehran's conservative Mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, also said that he withdrew from the presidential race to back another conservative candidate, Ebrahim Raisi.

On April 21, of the 1,636 registered candidates, six qualified, including three principalists, better known as conservatives, as well as two centrists and one reformist, to compete for the four-year presidential term.

Raisi is Rouhani's sole major conservative rival who hopes not to lose his current sovereignty.

Over 56 million Iranians are eligible electorates for the May 19 election.