Iranian election dropout Amir Ghazizadeh was the first competitor to do so.

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Late on Wednesday, a contender in Iran's presidential contest announced his withdrawal from the contest. This made him the first to pull out, allowing hardliners to unite behind a unity candidate in the race to succeed the late President Ebrahim Raisi.

53-year-old Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi withdrew from the race and encouraged other contenders to follow suit "so that the front of the revolution will be strengthened," according to the official IRNA news agency.

In addition to leading the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs, Ghazizadeh Hasehmi was one of Raisi's vice presidents.

In the 2021 presidential contest, he participated and finished in last place with slightly less than one million votes.

These withdrawals are typical during the last few hours of an Iranian presidential election, especially the day before the vote, when campaigns are required to go into a silent phase without holding rallies. On Friday, voters cast their ballots.

Five more contenders remain in the race following Ghazizadeh Hashemi's withdrawal.

Most analysts believe that there are currently three contenders in the race.

Experts suggest that two hardliners, parliamentary speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, are battling over the same group.

The only other reformist in the contest is cardiac physician Masoud Pezeshkian, who had ties to the previous administration of President Hassan Rouhani, who was quite moderate in his approach and helped Iran secure a nuclear agreement with international powers in 2015.
Iran's theocracy, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has persisted in refusing to allow women or anybody advocating for significant changes to the nation's political system to run for office.

But in recent days, Khamenei has called for a "maximum" voter participation and has cautioned Pezeshkian and his allies against depending too much on the US.

After Raisi was murdered in a helicopter crash in May, the Iranian capital has seen a general decline in public interest in the election.

Iranians generally face poor economic conditions and a significantly more unpredictable Middle East, where the Islamic Republic has already launched its first direct strike on Israel, following the pledge made nearly ten years ago by Tehran to open up Iran to the rest of the world through the nuclear deal.

Iran currently enriches uranium almost to the point of weapons grade and possesses enough of the material to make several nuclear bombs at its discretion.

Some people have declared they won't vote due to the election's limited alternatives and the general unhappiness with Iran's ongoing crackdown on women over the required headscarf.
"I didn't watch any of the debates because I don't intend to vote," stated 27-year-old master's degree holder and unemployed Fatemeh Jazayeri. "I supported Rouhani seven years ago, but he did not improve the economy as promised. Any pledge made by a candidate will only be kept on paper.

During Friday prayers, Tehrani worshippers—who are generally more conservative than the city's population—seemed more inclined to cast ballots.

The 46-year-old shopkeeper Mahmoud Seyedi announced that he, his wife, and their two small kids will cast ballots.

"My wife and I have chosen to support Qalibaf due to his extensive experience in solving national issues, but my daughters are also considering Jalili," he stated. "By the way, we have a responsibility to vote."

Another person at prayers, 49-year-old Parivash Emami, expressed her hope that his vote will aid Iran in resolving its issues.

"Qalibaf is extremely knowledgeable about problem details; the others are either critics or make empty promises to solve problems," Emami remarked.

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