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Iranian Parliament Leader Claims Election Dispute Resolved - 2004-01-27

The speaker of Iran's parliament has said that a deal has been reached between Iran's conservative and reformist leaders. He says that agreement could bring an end to Iran's latest election crisis.

Parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi told Iran's state news agency that he met with president Mohammad Khatami and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei late Monday, and said a deal has been reached that could end Iran's political crisis.

The Speaker said the conservative Guardian Council has reinstated several hundred of the 3,600 blacklisted candidates, and he expects more to be taken off the ban list in the next couple of days.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, had intervened in the election dispute earlier, ordering the Islamic Guardian Council to complete a full review of all the disqualified candidates, including more than 80 members of parliament.

The Guardian Council has pledged to follow the orders of the ayatollah, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran.

President Khatami told the official news agency IRNA he expects the February 20 elections to be held in what he called "healthy, free and competitive" spirit.