Iran presidential election: Conservative candidate Ghalibaf withdraws

Iran is working on development of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could carry nuclear weapons

"Repeat the vote for dear Rouhani, to boost hope for future", he said on Sunday, referring to Friday's presidential election.

The coalition between the two conservative nominees will benefit the country's economy in a post-election era, if Raeisi manages to assume power through the election.

Iranian presidential hopeful Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf withdrew Monday from the race to unseat the country's moderate leader in a move to unite conservatives behind fellow hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi in the homestretch for Friday's election.

He cast his other main rival, Teheran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a former Guards commander and police chief, as a thug who had boasted of personally taking on young demonstrators.

In announcing his decision, Qalibaf asked his supporters "to contribute their full capacity and support for the success of my brother, Ebrahim Raisi".

Iran elects a President for a four-year term by direct vote. "At this point, it is hard to see Raisi winning the election without help from the IRGC and the Guardian Council in the form of voter fraud".

The former prosecutor is now head of a multi-billion-dollar charitable foundation that manages donations to Iran's holiest shrine in the city of Mashhad.

Conservatives accuse Rouhani of succumbing to Western pressure and for compromising Iran's sovereignty.

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An push to boycott the country's upcoming elections is being driven by an online campaign lead by Iranian expatriates who oppose the theocratic regime governing in Tehran.

For his part, Rouhani said on Sunday during a speech delivered from Isfahan's historic Naqsh-e Jahan square, that in case he won the presidential elections, he plans to cooperate with the worldwide community and seek to lift the non-nuclear sanctions imposed on Iran, in a hint that the Iranian president plans to open a direct dialogue with the administration of US President Donald Trump.

KELLY: One question that will be very much on the mind of Americans following elections in Tehran is, of course, the nuclear deal which came into being under President Rouhani's tenure.

This was Qalibaf's third presidential campaign after losing to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005 and to Rouhani in 2013.

All Iranian presidents have won re-election since 1981 and Rouhani remains the favourite.

Raisi has pledged to support the poor with a monthly cash payment equivalent to $65 - about a sixth of what a menial laborer makes in a month. In April 2015, however, Khamenei said that if the nuclear negotiations were positive, and the United States "puts aside its typical ambiguities ... we will be able to negotiate with them on other issues".

But it is also arguable that the only chance to diffuse the tension between the West and Iran in the long term is for the moderates to stay in power.

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