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Rouhani’s VP Drops Out Of Iran Presidential Race

Iran -- President Hassan Rouhani (R) and his first deputy Eshagh Jahangiri, during a campaign rally in Tehran on Sunday May 13, 2017.

Iran’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has dropped out of the presidential race in favor of President Hassan Rouhani who is seeking a second term.

Jahangiri, a reformist politician, was believed to have joined the race to boost Rohani's chances of reelection and defend the government’s policies in televised debates.

"I feel I have done my duty. I will vote alongside all of you for Rouhani," Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the hard-line Tasnim news agency to his supporters in Fars province.

Jahangiri had a strong presence in the debates, where he attacked the record of former hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and argued that if elected, conservatives would take the country back to where it was before.

He signed up to run amid rumors that Rouhani might be disqualified by the hard-line Guardian Council that is tasked with vetting election candidates.

Rouhani’s main rival is cleric Ebrahim Raeisi who has accused the president of favoring the rich.

On Monday, May 15, another conservative candidate, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, mayor of Tehran, pulled out of the race in favor of Raeisi. A day later, on Tuesday, Ghalibaf appeared side by side with Raeisi in his Tehran campaign rally.

Two other candidates, conservative Mostafa Mirsalim, a former culture minister, and centrist Mostafa Hashemitaba, a former vice president and head of Physical Education Organization, remain in the race, with Hashemitaba saying that he will vote for Rouhani.

Campaigning should end on Thursday, May 18 at 8:00 o'clock local time. This means that, practically, Wednesday is the last full day of campaigning.