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Iran Hard-Liners Fear Defeat as Presidential Election Campaign Enters Final Week
TEHRAN, Iran Jun 10, 2005 — With a week to go before presidential elections, a strategist for Iran's hard-line politicians is advising several conservatives to drop out and unite behind a single candidate or face losing to the reformers.
But there is little sign any will pull out. That leaves them trailing and former president Hashemi Rafsanjani who advocates improving relations with Washington as the apparent front-runner.
Rafsanjani is presenting himself as the only candidate the world can rely on in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, which the Bush administration alleges is a front for developing atomic weapons.
He is running under the slogan "Let's work together." It is interpreted as a conciliatory gesture, because he has moved frequently between the hard-line and moderate camps in a country where conservative clerics have maintained control despite strong electoral showings by reformers.