TEHRAN, Mar. 21 (Mehr News Agency) - Mohammad Khatami said on Thursday that he quit the presidential race in favor of former prime minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi to avoid a misconception among the public that they are running against each other to gain power which he said would have been considered unethical.
In a statement issued late on Monday, the former president Khatami officially withdrew as a candidate for the 2009 presidential election. In his statement, the former president called Mousavi a "capable manager" who can efficiently run the country.
Mousavi officially announced his candidacy for the June presidential election on March 10, one month after Khatami announced his presidential bid.
Khatami said in today's world politics is based on "intimidation, lying and deception" and this is the "great problem of human" and the greatest work is to "moralize" the politics.
"If I am going to defend this principle (ethics) .... and insist on it, I will never allow the emergence of the misconception that I disregard ethics in order to gain power," the former president said in a meeting with his election managers before dropping out of the presidential race.
He also said he made the decision after hours of consultations with different persons from different political groups.
Khatami added that he thinks if the people love him it is because they think that he does not "lie" to them in order gain power.
"Now if I did something against this principle, wasn't it a treason to the people's belief?"
Khatami said it would have been considered a disregard of ethics if he had contested the election "simultaneously" with Mousavi whom he called a "free-thinking and dignified" person.
He went on to say that if he did not drop out his candidacy the votes for reformists were divided and in fact it was not a "service" for reformism.
The former reformist president also said no claim has been made that Mousavi represents reformism. He added a situation has been created in the country that "we all should make attempts to change" it.
"Change is the most urgent thing... and anybody who can do it must be admired."
Former parliament speaker Mahdi Karroubi, a reformist, is also campaigning for the presidential post.
However, Khatami said now it is now up to Mousavi and Karroubi not to allow a division of votes between reformists.
... Payvand News - 03/21/09 ... --