1ST LEAD: Khatami quits presidential race, supports Moussavi

Khatami quits presidential race, supports Moussavi Tehran  - Iranian former president Mohammad Khatami quit the presidential race on Monday night to support former prime minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi in the June 12 election.

The two candidates had similar platforms, and observers believed they could split the moderate vote to the advantage of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose ultra-conservative faction has named him as its sole candidate.

In a statement carried by his website Yaari News, Khatami said he withdrew his candidacy "as a moral obligation for avoiding a split in the votes."

Khatami, who made the decision after a meeting with the reformist clergy body MRM on Monday night in Tehran, reiterated in the statement his support for Moussavi. (dpa)

Political Reviews: