While Mohsan Rezaie and Mohammad Gharazi seem to be lagging behind in the race for the presidential election, the reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref stepped down in favor of Hassan Rohani.
The President of the Center for Strategic Research was immediately endorsed by former President Khatami as the candidate for the "reformists".
As for the "conservatives", after Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel’s withdrawal, three candidates still remain in the race, at the risk—according to Hassan Shariatmadari, editor of the daily Kehyan—of dispersing the votes and losing the election. The thee contenders are Mohammad Baker Kalibaf, Seyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharrazi and Ali Akbar Velayati.
Meanwhile, candidate Saeed Jalili is holding the middle ground.