Five weeks after having announced running for another presidency after 1997-2005, the former ‘reformist’ president of the Islamic Republic Mohammad Khatami yesterday left the campaign. He might in fact endorse another moderate candidate, Iran’s last prime minister (1980-1988) Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who announced last week his bid to run. Another candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, could still significantly weaken the ‘reformist’ camp. It is not clear, however, whether endorsers of one moderate candidate would inevitably also support another. The have-nots, who are the vast majority in the country, won’t vote for any of them. Their hero was and still is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Apart from a supposed attempt to prevent splitting ‘reformists’ votes’ Khatami might even have perceived signals that he certainly won’t receive the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s support. In any case, his not unexpected move might make a great day for current President and ‘principlist’ (as he is now called semi-officially) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had recently been criticized in the country for his undiplomatic rhetoric against the West which has led to a continuous dispute about Iran’s allegedly peaceful nuclear program. Despite a major economical turn-down also in Iran and galloping inflation Khatami’s decision might in fact largely boost the chances for Mr. Ahmadinejad.