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Candidate drops out of Iran presidential race, urges hardliner unity

A candidate in Iran’s presidential election has announced that he was dropping out of the race in an effort to unite support among hard-line voters heading to polls on Friday.

The departure of Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, an arch-conservative politician, leaves five contenders in the election to replace Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

Ghazizadeh Hashemi was one of Raisi’s vice presidents and the chairman of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs.

He belongs to the Front of Islamic Revolution Stability, a political faction loyal to Islamic Republic’s hard-line leadership.

He announced in a Wednesday night post on X that he was withdrawing from the race.

He urged others with a similar political bent to follow suit in order for support to unify around a single hard-line candidate.

Around 61 million voters are being called upon to elect a successor to Raisi.

The Guardian Council, an extremely conservative supervisory body, had only authorised six candidates for the election.

In the hard-line camp, a power struggle is raging between Saeed Jalili, ex-negotiator in the international nuclear talks, and parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.

It was unclear whether another candidate from the camp would also withdraw.

Former health minister Masoud Pezeshkian was the only moderate candidate seen as having a chance at the presidency.

NAN reports that early presidential elections in Iran will be held on Friday,  following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19.(dpa/NAN)

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