Iran's Ex-President Khatami Backs Rouhani's Reelection Bid Ahead of Friday Vote
Incumbent Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has received valuable support from one of the figureheads of the state's reformist movement, former President Mohammad Khatami, ahead of Friday's election of the leader of the country.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Khatami served two terms as Iranian president from 1997 to 2005. During the 2013 elections, Khatami advised Rouhani's rival, Mohammad Reza Aref, to withdraw the race, a move which helped Rouhani to win the presidency for the first time.
We will come and vote for Rouhani, for freedom of thought… rule of law, human rights and implementation of social and economic justice," Khatami said a video published on social media Sunday, as quoted by the Financial Times newspaper.
Khatami was banned from publishing public statements in the media after he openly supported mass protests which occurred due to alleged fraud in votes' counting in the 2009 presidential election. For this reason, the ex-president had to use social networks to convey his messages, the newspaper said.
Rouhani's major hardline rivals in the presidential race are Ayatollah Ibrahim Raisi and Teheran's mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf. The candidate who receives over 50 percent of the popular vote on May 19 will become the next Iranian president. However, in the case that no candidate crosses the threshold, Iran will have to hold another election round.