Conservative drops out of Iran election to back hard-liner against Rouhani

Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf has plans to demolish Evin Prison and turn it into a green space
AFP/File
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf called on his supporters to back hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi

Conservative Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf withdrew from Iran's presidential race on Monday just days before the election, state media reported. 

Ghalibaf released a statement, calling on his supporters to back hardline cleric and jurist Ebrahim Raisi in Friday's election, saying it was vital for the "preservation of the interests of the people, the revolution and the country." 

"A fundamental and crucial decision must be taken for the unity of the revolutionary front," Ghalibaf wrote in a statement.

"To protect this great ideal, I ask all of my supporters across the country to offer all of their support to the success of our dear brother Ebrahim Raisi."

Unofficial polls still show moderate President Hassan Rouhani as the front-runner, but he has a tougher-than-expected challenge from his conservative rivals due to the continued stagnation of the economy.

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