TEHRAN, April 13 (UPI) — Iranian presidential contender Mehdi Karroubi will not step aside, leaders say, as several parties line up to support a rival candidate on the Reformist ticket.

“Karroubi won’t withdraw because he has made a lot of effort to maintain his position,” said Abolfazl Shakoori with the National Confidence Party.

Karroubi launched the NCP following a failed presidential bid in 2005. He is a former member of the Association of Combatant Clerics and former speaker of the Iranian Parliament.

Shakoori made his comments following a meeting between Karroubi and former President Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s Press TV reports. Khatami withdrew from the race in March, citing a need for party unity in the Reformist slate.

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