2 candidates withdraw from Iran prez polls

Tehran: Two candidates have withdrawn from the race for the Iranian presidential election scheduled to take place on Friday, local media reported. The contest will now take place among five candidates, Xinhua news agency reported.

The reformist hopeful and former Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh withdrew from the race by informing the Interior Ministry of his decision on Wednesday.

The withdrawal of Mehralizadeh will likely boost the chances of former Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati, according to the local media reports.

During the debates on Iranian state TV on Tuesday, Mehralizadeh along with Hemmati was critical of other five principlist candidates’ viewpoints and policies.

According to Tasnim News Agency, the lawmaker Alireza Zakani, also a hopeful, announced his withdrawal from the presidential race in favour of Ebrahim Raisi, the incumbent Judiciary Chief who is widely seen as the front-runner.

Besides Hemmani and Raisi, the three remaining candidates are Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, a conservative MP since 2008; Mohsen Rezaei, a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and current secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council; and Saeed Jalili, a conservative diplomat and former Iran’s nuclear negotiator.

 Incumbent President Hassan Rouhani cannot stand for re-election after two terms in office.