NewsSpecial WireIran’s ex-Revolutionary Guards chief abandons race

Iran’s ex-Revolutionary Guards chief abandons race

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Jun. 15 – A day after Iran Focus predicted that Mohsen Rezai, one of the five ex-Revolutionary Guards commanders in the eight-man race for Iran’s next president, would withdraw in favour of strongman Hashemi Rafsanjani, he bowed out on Wednesday evening. In a statement explaining his decision to withdraw, Rezai said today that he was heeding the “opinion of pre-eminent religious leaders to avoid splitting the votes”. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jun. 15 – A day after Iran Focus predicted that Mohsen Rezai, one of the five ex-Revolutionary Guards commanders in the eight-man race for Iran’s next president, would withdraw in favour of strongman Hashemi Rafsanjani, he bowed out on Wednesday evening.

In a statement explaining his decision to withdraw, Rezai said today that he was heeding the “opinion of pre-eminent religious leaders to avoid splitting the votes”. Independent opinion polls mostly gave Rezai about one percent or less of the votes of likely voters and he was widely seen as a hopeless candidate.

“At this sensitive and turbulent juncture, I leave the noble people of Iran to judge my honour”, Rezai said.

In a barb at the remaining candidates, Rezai noted that “neither myself, nor any other candidate, seems to have won the necessary popular backing to execute plans that need a large popular mandate”.

“The important difference between my views and strategy compared with those of others involved in the management of the country is that I believe in the people, instead of seeing them as strangers and uneducated masses that must be kept out of policymaking”, the former feared military chief said.

Major General Mohsen Rezai was Commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from 1981 to 1997 and currently serves as Secretary of the State Expediency Council.

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former President and current frontrunner in the race to become President, is Chairman of the Council.

Rezai, a close confidant of the former President, was seen by some analysts as Rafsanjani’s Trojan horse; a candidate who would pull out of the race at the eleventh hour to give the 70-year-old cleric a chance to secure the largest percentage of the votes and prevent a runoff. As it turned out, his exit from the race seems to be as inconsequential as his entry.

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