Source: Press TV
Reformist presidential hopeful Mir-Hossein Mousavi has pledged to follow the
same path of former president Mohammad Khatami.
"I, like you, believe that the correct path lies in reforms that include a return to principles and a rebirth," Mousavi told Khatami in a letter to the former president published by Tabnak.
On Tuesday, Khatami, who had planned to run in the country's upcoming elections seeking re-election for a third term, announced that he would drop out of the race to "prevent a division" of the votes.
"I announce my withdrawal from the 10th presidential election," Khatami said in a statement he issued after meeting with Mousavi and other leading figures of the Reformist camp.
In his letter, Mousavi -- the last prime minister of Iran -- said that he had decided to run for the executive post because of the current political trends surrounding Iran.
"Otherwise, I would see no one more fit to continue the path [of reform] other than its founder," he explained, referring to Khatami.
Mohammad Khatami (L) and Mir-Hossein Mousavi (R) both sought to run for president on the Reformist platform.
Mousavi said he was not adamant about his
decision to stand for election and was open to change if Khatami thought it
The former politician added that he hoped to see Khatami continue to play a leading role in efforts to bring about sweeping reforms in the country.
Khatami, Iran's president from 1997 to 2005, declared plans in early March to compete against incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Reformist parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi in the presidential elections scheduled for June 12.
Last week, however, after Mousavi announced his own bid for the presidency, speculations grew that Khatami would pull out to give the Reformist camp a better chance to secure the presidency.
The letter by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was earlier seen as a candidate with the potential to attract supporters of both Principlists and Reformists, signals an inclination toward the Reformist platform.
presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi urges Reformists to unify after Khatami
announces his decision to quit the presidential race.
"Some are concerned that Khatami's withdrawal will mean that we will no longer benefit from his political and popular position. But Khatami will continue with his efforts leading to the victory of Reformists in the upcoming election," Etemad-e Melli quoted Karroubi as saying on Wednesday.
Karroubi, who heads the Etemad-e Melli (National Confidence) party urged Reformists to promote convergence, saying, "Reformists can adopt common strategies through precise planning."
The cleric, who served as parliament speaker from 1989 to 1992 and from 2000 to 2004, announced his candidacy for the 10th presidential elections in October. He was also a candidate for the presidency in 2005.
Karroubi intends to run his campaign on the slogan of "Change", with hopes to "bring about change in Iran's Executive Body".
"I welcome the participation of a number of candidates in the election because I regard every single Reformist candidate as an opportunity to bring change to the current situation," he said.
While the Principlist camp has yet to nominate a candidate, incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to seek re-election.
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