Accessibility links

Iran's Electoral Compromise Failed, say Reformists - 2004-02-05

Iran's reformists say a compromise to resolve Iran's election crisis has failed, because the conservative Guardian Council has reinstated only 51 of the more than 2,000 candidates who were barred from running in this month's parliamentary election.

The leader of Iran's largest reform party, Mohammed Reza Khatami, says the Islamic Iran Participation Front will go ahead with plans to boycott the February 20 election because it will not be legal or free.

Mr. Khatami, who is the brother of Iran's president and deputy speaker of parliament, said the Guardian Council has allowed only a small number of candidates back into the race.

Iran's reformers were pressing the conservative Guardian Council, a powerful oversight body of 12 appointed Islamic clerics and lawyers, to reinstate more of the previously disqualified candidates by Thursday.

Iran's student news agency reported that a spokesman for the Guardian Council said the council has not yet completed its review of the remaining banned candidates.

The Guardian Council's decision to ban more than a third of the parliamentary candidates from seeking office sparked political turmoil in Iran. More than 120 members of parliament have resigned, and many leading reformists have called for the vote to be postponed.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said earlier this week that the election must be held on time.

Reformists were encouraged when the ayatollah ordered a second review of the more than 2,400 mostly reformist candidates who were eliminated from the coming ballot. The list of banned candidates includes more than 80 sitting members of parliament.

Mr. Khatami, who is one of the barred candidates, had said his party might decide to participate in the election, if the bans were overturned. But when hearing that only several dozen of the candidates were reinstated, Mr. Khatami vowed to press ahead with his party's boycott.