Reformist presidential candidate bids farewell to a group of his supporters in the central city of Isfahan on June 9, 2013.
Mohammad Reza Aref has withdrawn his candidacy from Iran’s June 14 presidential election in order to give the reformist camp a better chance to win.
The former vice president announced his decision to drop out of the election in a statement issued late on Monday, in which he said the decision was made after he received suggestions from former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who advised him to stand aside.
The reformist also called on the Iranian people to vote en masse in the upcoming presidential election to create a political epic and maintain the dignity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Earlier in the day, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel withdrew from the presidential race in favor of principlists.
In an official statement, former Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said he would continue to make efforts to help the principlist camp win the election.
Haddad-Adel said he stepped aside after evaluating the situation and the reality on the ground.
The six candidates in Iran’s presidential election are Hassan Rohani, who is the president of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi.
The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election after the Guardian Council vets the candidates.
Nearly 50.5 million Iranians are eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election.