Iran candidates on last campaign day for election

Associated Press
FILE - In this Saturday, June 1, 2013 file photo, in front of a portrait of the late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, presidential candidate Hasan Rowhani, a former top nuclear negotiator, center, gestures to his supporters at a rally in Tehran, Iran. Iranian pro-reform candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, pulled out of this week's presidential election to give support to a centrist whose campaign has gained momentum in recent days. The decision by Aref is seen as a major boost for Hasan Rowhani, who now faces off against five conservative candidates Friday. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Candidates in Iran's presidential election are wrapping up the final day of campaigning, with a moderate cleric seeing his chances significantly boosted just two days before the vote.

Hasan Rowhani was thrown into the forefront of the race after pro-reform candidate Mohammad Reza Aref pulled out on Tuesday.

Rowhani's chances also increased with former popular presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami publicly giving their support to him.

Friday's election will find a successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run for a third term in office.

The 64-year-old Rowhani rejects Ahmadinejad's combative approach in world affairs and sides with Rafsanjani's view that Iran can maintain its nuclear program and ease tensions with the West at the same time.

Along with Rowhani, four conservatives and a hard-liner remain in the race.

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