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Iranian Guardian Council Ordered to Review Decision to Bar Reform Candidates in Presidential Election

  • Brian Purchia

Iranian Supreme leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered Iran's hardline Guardian Council to review its decision barring reformist candidates from running for president in next month's polls.

The decree came just hours after Iran's main reform party vowed to boycott the June 17 elections, because the council disqualified its candidate, Mostafa Moin.

In Tehran, Mr. Moin called his disqualification unfair and illegal. The 12-member Guardian Council is an unelected body of clerics and jurists who supervise elections and make sure parliamentary laws conform to Islamic law.

Iran's Guardian Council on Sunday rejected all but six presidential hopefuls, out of more than 1,000 candidates, including all the women.

Among the many who had hoped to succeed Mohammad Khatami, the Reformist who has held office for the past eight years is Dadallah Deldali Sar-Ju. He traveled to the capital, Tehran from southeastern Iran to submit his candidacy. He says, "I want to bring a democratic and Koranic country into existence."

Dadallah thought his main rival would be Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Never mind that the Ayatollah is a powerful former president running for a third term, Dadallah believed he'd win 20 million votes.

Jalal Solouki wanted to become known for his capabilities rather than his appearance. His resemblance to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein recently got him arrested while on a trip to Iraq. But he put the mishap behind him and was looking ahead to a future in politics.

At 18-years-old, Aezam Ghaderi was the youngest presidential hopeful. She says she would have focused on the country's large youth population. "The problems of young people. The problems of education, because I myself wanted to do scientific work, but I didn't have the means," says Aezam Ghaderi.

It was not a complete surprise that Ms. Ghaderi was not allowed to run, as her gender is disqualified from the start. Women are allowed to run for seats in Iran's Parliament, but the Guardian Council has interpreted Iran's Constitution to mean that only men can be President.

And it wasn't shocking that the council said no to hundreds of other candidates. Last year, hard-liners took control of Iran's parliament after the Guardian Council disqualified more than 2,400 reformists, including 80 incumbents, from running for office.

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