Iran: Two candidates drop out of presidential election 

Iran: Two candidates drop out of presidential election 

Following former Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash last month, two hardline candidates dropped out of Iran’s upcoming presidential election one day prior to the landmark vote, reports Reuters

The head of the Martyrs’ Foundation, Amirhossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi exited the race on 27th June and urged other candidates to follow suit “to strengthen the revolutionary stance,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Also withdrawing from the election was Tehran’s mayor Alireza Zakani who similarly called for unity among forces supporting the country’s Islamic revolution. 

They were expected to win just 1.7% and 2% of votes respectively according to a 22-23 June poll carried out by the Iran Students Polling Centre.

Their departure leaves four presidential candidates remaining, prompting Zakani to call on the leading hardliners to join forces to prevent moderate Masoud Pezeshkian from winning. 

“I call upon Saeed Jalili and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to unite and not leave the demands of the revolutionary forces unanswered,” Zakani wrote on X, referring to the former nuclear negotiator and his hardline rival, parliament speaker and former head of the powerful Revolutionary Guards.

Raisi’s death is suspected to impact the election, which will take place on June 28th, influencing the succession to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. 

Khamenei, now 85, has ensured candidates sharing his hardline views will dominate the election process. Iran’s president is traditionally closely involved in the process of choosing the supreme leader.

The elections are taking place against the backdrop of the Israel-Gaza war. As tensions rise with Israel, the West is pressuring Tehran to scale back its nuclear plans, and domestic dissent is growing over political, social, and economic issues.

READ: Iran’s attack worries Israelis as larger war looms 

Pezeshkian, a former health minister, garners support from Iran’s reformist faction that advocates détente with the West. However, his chances are unclear, with dissidents in and outside Iran calling for an election boycott. 



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