Three of seven candidates pull out of Iran presidential race

Two days before Iran’s presidential election, which is expected to be won by ultraconservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, three of the six other men in the race withdraw their candidacies.

Ultraconservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani withdrew this morning, hours after reformist Mohsen Mehralizadeh had also thrown in the towel ahead of Friday’s vote, Iranian media reports.

In this june 12, 2021, file photo made available by Young Journalists Club, YJC, presidential candidates for June 18, elections Alireza Zakani, left, Mohsen Mehralizadeh, second left, Saeed Jalili, center, Abdolnasser Hemmati, second right, and Ebrahim Raisi leave at the conclusion of a part of the final debate of the candidates at a state-run TV studio in Tehran, Iran. (Morteza Fakhri Nezhad/ Young Journalists Club, YJC via AP, File)

In the afternoon another ultraconservative, Saeed Jalili, also pulled out. “A significant part of society has favored my dear brother” Raisi, Jalili says, and urges his backers to vote for the cleric.

That leaves four hopefuls in the race, out of whom the ultraconservative judiciary chief Raisi, 60, is seen as the clear favorite after other prominent politicians were barred from running.

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