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First Deputy Parliament Speaker: Current situation marks end of reform in Iran

First Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami Sunday said that the MPs staging a sit-in believe that holding the February-20 elections under present circumstances would be illegal and that it would somehow mark the end to the reform movement, IRNA reported from Tehran.

photo: ISNA

Speaking to reporters in the Majlis, he added that the MPs who have staged a sit-in and or have resigned would neither participate in the upcoming election, nor would they attend Majlis sessions in future.

"From now on, further approval of the nominees qualifications would be outdated and even if such green lights are given, the candidates would not have sufficient time to launch their electoral campaign.

MPs Resigning in protest
photo: ISNA

"As a result, the February-20 balloting would not be taken as 'Just Elections'," he added.

In response to a question about the views of the MPs staging a sit-ins on postponing the election date, the MP said that the main issue is to hold free and valid elections and that if no change takes place in the current trend, more time would be of no use.

Turning to the possibility of holding further Majlis meetings, he noted, "We had agreed to close down up to February 19 due to election campaigns. However, given the current situation and the resignation of several MPs, another open session would possibly be convened."

In reply to a reporter's question about the proposal of the sit-in MPs, he said that it concerns a return to the law, given that the law is straightforward and has been complied with for many years.

Turning to the procedure for examining the resignation of MPs, he noted, "According to Majlis internal by-law, the resignations are put on agenda case by case, each of which is discussed by the opponents and proponents and the final decision is made."

Replying to a question on the Majlis speaker's call for the Supreme Leader's intervention to settle the current problem, he said that the Guardian Council (GC) has already lost golden opportunities, in view of the straightforward remarks voiced by the Supreme Leader on the issue.

He stressed that there is not much hope left for solving the issue and added that even if the nominees qualifications are to be approved, there would neither be time for equal campaign, neither would the elections be just.

Concerning the continuation of sit-in, he said that it will go on and that their position would be announced in subsequent sessions.

Turning to the fact that mass resignation of MPs contradicts Majlis internal by-law, he said that given that MPs have resigned one by one and their resignations would be examined case by case, this would cause no legal problem.

A correspondent asked whether resignations causing the official closure of the parliament would be acceptable and Khatami replied that resignations can be brought up until the number MPs reach 194.

In response to another query whether the opposition considers the MPs' resignations to be sham, he said, "Up to now they used to say that the MPs wouldn't dare resign, while now they refer to it as sham resignations," concluded Khatami.

... Payvand News - 2/1/04 ... --

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