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Iranian Council Bars 30% of Candidates

January 11, 2004|From Reuters

TEHRAN — Iran's conservative Guardian Council has barred almost 30% of aspiring candidates from participating in elections next month, newspapers reported Saturday.

Official candidate lists for the Feb. 20 parliamentary poll have not yet been posted, but some parliamentarians said they had already heard that top reformists had been banned. Reformists have threatened to boycott the vote if many of them are ruled out.

Any bans on candidates are issued by the 12-member Guardian Council, a hard-line supervisory body that can veto legislation from parliament, where reformists hold a majority.

Reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who has tried before and failed to curb the council's power to bar candidates, recently urged the body not to veto too many.

The Sharq and Resalat newspapers quoted Mohammed Jahromi, a spokesman for the Guardian Council's electoral oversight body, as saying 2,380 out of 8,200 candidates had been disqualified so far from the race for seats in the 290-seat parliament.

Jahromi said the reasons for the bans ranged from alleged drug addiction to sympathies with fringe groups. He also alleged that some of those blocked are not Iranian.

He said the Intelligence and Security Ministry, the judiciary and the police had provided the information that caused the candidates to be blacklisted.

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