16 May, 2017
In a statement released on Monday, the conservative mayor of Tehran Qalibaf said he is withdrawing from presidency in favour of Raisi to protect the interests of Iran, the people, and the Revolution. That is not to say, however, that all of Qalibaf's supporters will automatically vote for Raisi.
During the previous polls in June 2013, President Rouhani garnered 50.7 percent of a total of over 36 million votes. "The goal of the Iran deal was never to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but instead to empower Iran by giving it something to use as blackmail against USA pressure". A Raisi victory could alarm investors and set Iran on a more confrontational course with the Trump White House - which has called the nuclear deal a "disaster" - and its Sunni Gulf Arab allies.
Khoshcheshm said that Rouhani was expected to have "a hard job" in the upcoming election.
"Repeat the vote for dear Rouhani, to boost hope for future", he said on Sunday, referring to Friday's presidential election. "God allowed it. The constitution has allowed that they use their language and their alphabet", said Raisi.
Answering the question about their political inclinations, 27.8 percent of respondents said that their views are closer to reformists, 23.3 percent - to conservatives, while 14 percent said they prefer moderate ones. Some also have speculated that Qalibaf could serve as a vice president in Raisi's administration, in exchange for his support.
This time around, establishment conservative hardliners who want to unseat Rouhani are mainly placing their trust in Ebrahim Raisi, a jurist and Shiite cleric who studied at the feet of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Official statistics over the past decades show that moderate candidates, including former president Muhammad Khatami and Green Movement leader Mir Hussein Mosavi enjoyed wider support in both Kurdish and Sunni regions in Iran.
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But when I go out on the street here and ask several people who they will vote for, a lot of them are still saying Hassan Rouhani because he is a man promising to change this country.
Raisi is a former prosecutor and current custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the foundation managing the affairs of Imam Reza's shrine, which has an annual revenue of $210 billion.
An important achievement of Rouhani during his five-year term is his work in the partial lifting of the worldwide financial and trade sanctions against Iran.
Raisi needs to reach out to a wider conservative base in the next few days, Bassiri Tabrizi said.
"The people of Iran will announce in this election that they don't accept those who only knew executions and prison for 38 years", said Rouhani at the Monday rally.
Speaking at a television talk show on Saturday night, Qalibaf, the incumbent mayor of Tehran, said the country is now beset with unemployment, economic recession, and high costs.
"Mr Raisi, you can slander me as much you wish".