Iran body reinstates more hopefuls for March vote

An Iranian watchdog body has reinstated another 200 candidates to run in a March parliamentary election, state television reported on Wednesday.

Iran body reinstates more hopefuls for March vote
Over 2,000 registered candidates out of 7,200 were initially barred by government committees. Politicians, including former president Mohammad Khatami and some of Ahmadinejad's backers, have complained over the mass disqualifications.

However, the conservative-run Guardian Council, which has stopped hundreds of reformists running in past votes, has now reinstated more than 1,000 hopefuls to run for parliament.

Potential candidates in Iran face a vetting process. Those who pass the filter of government committees, have to be approved by the council.

The council has the authority to reinstate those who were initially rejected or bar more hopefuls based on criteria such as loyalty to the Islamic system.

The final list of eligible candidates will be announced in the first week of March.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, an architect of the Islamic revolution, criticised the clerical establishment for the mass disqualification, saying it was "undermining freedom and rights of people".

"The clear and sad example of trampling of Iranians' rights is the mass rejection of candidates based on political prejudices," Montazeri was quoted as saying by the Etemad daily.

Montazeri was hailed as "the fruit of my life" by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, late founder of the revolution, who designated him as his successor. But Montazeri fell from grace in 1988 after criticising Iran's rulers.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Şubat 2008, 11:04