Iranian President Hasan Rouhani on Friday challenged a fellow candidate in the country's presidential elections to "issue an arrest warrant" against him, as the moderate figure continues to adopt a combative approach during his quest for re-election.
The coalition between the two conservative nominees will benefit the country's economy in a post-election era, if Raeisi manages to assume power through the election.
Ghalibaf, a former Revolutionary Guards commander and police chief, was one of the main challengers to President Hassan Rouhani who is seeking a second term.
While it was clear that US President Barack Obama had sought an opening with Iran - he shook hands with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif behind closed doors in New York - Iran's leadership, in particular the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, never trusted the opposing side enough to allow discussions to go beyond the nuclear file.
"I ask all my supporters in the country to support the success of our great brother Hojatoleslam Seyed Ebrahim Raisi", Qalibaf stated in a letter published in social media.
Five candidates remain in the campaign but more may drop out to throw their support behind other candidates.
ERDBRINK: I think it's very much in the Iranian establishment's interest to keep the nuclear deal in place. It was Khamenei who a year ago appointed Raisi, 56, to manage the Astan Quds Razavi, an Islamic charity that controls assets worth billions of dollars, as well as the Imam Reza shrine in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad. On Friday, Rouhani accused his hardline clerical foes of being power-hungry pawns of Iran's security forces.
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Raisi and Qalibaf were following the same campaign tactics, criticizing Rouhani's economic record and his policy of detente with the West.
Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri and the two other men whose candidacies were approved by the Guardian Council last month - reformist Mostafa Hashemitaba and conservative Mostafa Mirsalim - are also thought to be likely to withdraw before the election. It also suggests that Iran's election will be decided in the first round, which requires the victor to get over 50 percent of the total vote.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in NY, U.S., September 22, 2016.
Iran's relations with the US, which improved under Rouhani and led to the nuclear deal and the lifting of some sanctions, have also hung over the campaigning.
In 2013, Khatami helped Rouhani take office by convincing reformist Mohammad Reza Aref to step aside in Rouhani's favour.
Ghasseminejad believes that while Rouhani is a weak candidate, Raisi may be even weaker. The US announced sanctions against companies and individuals suspected of being involved in Iran's nuclear programme, and suggested further pressure to come.
That past has anxious moderates and reformists in Iran.