Iran's hopeful, Agha-Mirsalim, denies drop of presidential bid

by Hassan Rouhvand

TEHRAN, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian presidential hopeful, Mostafa Agha-Mirsalim, on Thursday denied that he has withdrawn from the race to back conservative nominee Ebrahim Raisi, semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

"I have not quit the race and I deny all the reports about my withdrawal," Agha-Mirsalim said in a message released by ISNA.

"I ask all my friends and companions not to heed the rumors about my withdrawal and to attend the polls with certainty," he said.

Earlier, the state IRIB TV carried a statement by the Islamic Coalition Party (ICP) which said that Agha-Mirsalim stopped his race for presidency and ICP will support Raisi's bid.

However, Agha-Mirsalim said later that he is still the candidate of the ICP for the Friday election.

Also, the Iranian Interior Ministry on Thursday officially announced the names of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, Ebrahim Raisi, Mostafa Agha-Mirsalim and Mostafa Hashemi Taba as the four hopefuls for the Friday presidential election.

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

On Tuesday, Iran's reformist Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, announced his withdrawal from the race in order to back incumbent President Hassan Rouhani, urging all his supporters to vote for Rouhani.

Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a conservative candidate, said in a statement on Monday he withdrew from the presidential race to back Raisi.

[ Editor: meng ]


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