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Iranian Pro-Reform Candidate Quits Presidential Race

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Former Iranian vice president Mohammad Reza Aref has withdrawn from Friday's presidential election.

In a Tuesday statement he says he received a letter late Monday from former reformist president Mohammad Khatami saying it would not be wise for him to remain in the race.

The withdrawal by the 61-year-old, pro-reform Aref follows calls from reformists to back moderate Hassan Rowami.

Aref is the second candidate to drop out this week. Gholam Ali Haddad Adel withdrew Monday, leaving six men vying to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran's Guardian Council of clerics and jurists approved the list, which is dominated by ultraconservative loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mr. Ahmadinejad cannot run for a third term, under Iran's constitution.

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