One hundred and sixteen Iranian parliament members extended their resignations on Sunday in protest to mass disqualification of candidates from standing in the parliamentary elections on February 20, IRNA reported from Tehran.
They announced their resignations in a joint letter, read by Tehran MP Mohsen Mir-Damadi and the MP from central Isfahan Rajab-Ali Mazrouie.
The move by the lawmakers has entailed mixed reactions among the Iranian officials.
The following are excerpts of comments made by some Iranian officials and parliamentarians concerning the issue:
** Interim Friday prayers leader of Qum, Ayatollah Abdullah Javadi Amoli: Resignation plus strike are not a prestige.
**Deputy Governor General of Qum for the Political and Security Affairs, Fathollah Haqiqi: Officials in Qum will for the best of their efforts make sure rights of those branded unfairly as disqualified be restored.
**Secretary of the Association of University Instructors Mohsen Rahami: People, students and academicians are seriously concerned over and embarrassed by mass resignation of more than 122 MPs; definitely, Iranian nation will not remain indifferent towards the issue. There is no way but postponing the elections.
**Head of Justice Department in Khuzestan Province Amir Abbas Sohrab Beig: Disqualification of certain volunteers by Guardian Council does not mean refusing to hold the upcoming elections; the elections are of high significance and any effort to avoid their holding will be a crime.
**Chief of Justice Department in Tehran Abbasali Alizadeh: Justice Department will bar itself from any action as long as the strikes remain something civil and as long as no crime is committed; no crime has thus far been committed.
**MP from Qazvin Nasser Qavami: Guardian Council has been unfair in screening the would-be candidates; ulima, high religious authorities, government and President Mohammad Khatami in particular are urged not to allow the "illegal" elections be held.
**MP from Tehran Davood Soleymani: MPs have gone on strike just for restoration of their rights; they have been trying to avoid history of the nation going diverted.
**Representatives of the protesting MPs, tendering their resignation: Representatives of Iranian nation had no way but resignation in protest to blatant violation of the nation's rights and omission of the republican feature of the system; MPs will no more be accomplices to those following their own interests in the name of reforms.
**Lawmaker from Abadan (Khuzestan Province) Mohammad Rashidian: Guardian Council comprises of six lawyers and six jurisprudents who are expected not to make mistakes or tell lie; the Constitution has only empowered them to supervise the election and if it had the right to disqualify the candidates, the Constitution would have noted such a right. Unfortunately, the Guardian Council has made its own interpretation of the Constitution driving the community to a situation in which we encounter wide scale disqualification of parliamentary candidates," he said.
**MP from Damghan (Semnan Province) Hassan Sobhani: the article 95 of the bylaw of the parliamentary sessions does not authorize mass resignation.
**MP from Savojbolagh (Tehran Province) Jaafar Golbaz: parliament is the essence of the public aspiration whose strength should be respected and safeguarded. The Guardian Council has provided a filtration in the name of Islam upon which they disqualify one-third of the sitting MPs.
**Representative from Kazeroun (Fars Province) Mohammad Baqer Baqeri-Nejadian Fard: no one has the right to violate the legitimate rights of the people in the name of independence and territorial integrity. In light of the current situation, holding a competitive and fair election is impossible for the time being. The elections should be postponed.
**Representative from Nahavand (Hamedan Province) Mohammad Reza Ali Hosseini: Secretary of the Guardian Council Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has levelled unjust accusations against the MPs.
**Representative of Marivan (Kurdestan Province) Abdollah Sohrabi: unjust action has taken place and that the representatives of the people have been disqualified for unjust accusations. The Guardian Council should present its documents for the charges it has levelled against the MPs.
**Lawmaker from Tehran Ali Shakuri-Rad: 114 MPs, submitting their resignations, call on the presiding board of the parliament to acknowledge receipt of the resignations.
**Prosecutor general, Abd an-Nabi Namazi: Judiciary is well prepared to help hold parliamentary election on February 20; judiciary supports the Guardian Council and would help hold the election on schedule.
**First Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Reza Khatami: 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.
**Head of Electoral Supervisory Board of Tehran, Shahr-e Rey and Shemiranat Hojatoleslam Ahmad Azimizadeh: given any resignation under the current conditions would be taken as interference with the elections trend, it would be subject to prosecution.
**MP from Tehran Mohsen Mir-Damadi: Going ahead with the election on February 20 under the existing circumstances will be a nail in the coffin of republicanism.
Over 2,000 prospective candidates from among more than 8,000 of those who registered for the elections have been declared as disqualified by the Guardians Council.
Among those barred are more than 80 sitting MPs, who held a sit-in for more than two weeks in protest to the disqualifications.
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