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Iran's Upcoming Presidential Election Draws 1,000 Candidates


An Iranian woman registers as a presidential candidate at the Interior Ministry in Tehran
Officials in Iran say more than 1,000 people, including 89 women, have registered to compete in a presidential election next month to choose a successor to pro-reform incumbent Mohammad Khatami.

Iran's Interior Ministry says prospective candidates turned out in record numbers to register before Saturday's deadline. Officials say, however, the actual number of candidates who appear on the June 17 ballot will be much lower.

Over the next 10 days, Iran's ultra-conservative Guardian Council is expected to screen the list of candidates and disqualify those they deem unsuitable. Observers say the council is likely to remove the names of the women who registered, even though Iran's constitution does not ban them from running.

Reports say former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who announced his candidacy, is likely to be a front-runner in the contest.

Mr. Khatami is barred from running for a third consecutive four-year term.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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