Tue May 16, 2017 2:18PM
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri are seen in this file photo.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri are seen in this file photo.

Es’haq Jahangiri, the Iranian first vice president and a candidate in the country’s 12th presidential election, has dropped out of the race to back moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Jahangiri issued a statement on Tuesday, saying he decided to enter the presidential race at senior reformists’ discretion and after consultation with President Rouhani to elucidate the country’s situation “at the beginning and along the path that we have taken.”

Now that the presidential campaign is nearing its end and President Rouhani has received the warm welcome of the Iranian people, “I feel that I have fulfilled my duty and withdraw my candidacy in order to make my utmost to support Rouhani and help him promote his future plans,” he added.

“At the current juncture, I consider supporting Rouhani and a firm vote for him as support for the powerful Iranian nation, which is entitled to pin its hope on [having] a better future,” Jahangiri said.

The first vice president added that he regarded support for President Rouhani’s administration, which managed to prepare the ground and make up for the past mismanagement, as the support for the entire Islamic establishment.

Iran's 12th presidential election candidate, Es’haq Jahangiri (C) attends a gathering of his supporters in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz. A few hours later, Jahangiri announced his withdrawal from the presidential race in favor of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani.

Jahangiri called on the Iranian nation to massively participate in the 12th presidential election and help an administration that seeks to decisively carry out major tasks.

Jahangiri issued the statement after the Reformists’ Supreme Policymaking Council sent a letter to him calling for his withdrawal from the race to support the incumbent president.

The council hailed Jahangiri’s acceptance of its proposal to enter the presidential race and his efforts to strongly defend the “dialogue of hope, peace, development and efficiency.”

With regard to the existing situation in the country, the council suggested that the vice president should make another responsible decision and quit the presidential race in order to back the candidate supported by the reformists through consensus.

Iran will simultaneously hold its 12th presidential election and the 5th City and Village Councils Elections on May 19.

On April 20, the Iranian Interior Ministry announced the final list of six candidates vetted by the Guardian Council to run for president.

The list included Rouhani; Jahangiri; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf; member of Iran’s Expediency Council, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim; former deputy judiciary chief, Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi; and former vice president, Mostafa Hashemi-Taba.

However, the Tehran mayor issued a statement on Monday announcing that he was to withdraw from the presidential race while backing principlist candidate, Raeisi.