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Iran's Khatami May Withdraw From Presidential Race


A close aide says Iran's moderate former President Mohammad Khatami may soon withdraw from the June presidential election.

Mr. Khatami's aide told several Western news agencies Monday that he expects an announcement soon.

The news comes after the ex-president spoke to his supporters at a meeting late Sunday. News agencies quote Mr. Khatami as saying that another moderate candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, may face less resistance from some hardliners and so might be a better contender.

He indicated that he may consider withdrawing to avoid dividing the pro-reformist vote.

Mr. Khatami served as president of Iran from 1997 to 2005.

Mr. Mousavi served as Iran's prime minister throughout most of the 1980s, but his position was scrapped when Iran's constitution was revised in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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