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Iran: Parliament Speaker speaks of 'trap', calls for massive turnout in election

Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi on Monday claimed a 'trap' which he said had been set by a certain group to tip the scales in their own favor in February 20 parliamentary election by keeping the electorate at bay from ballot boxes, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The legislative head repeated his 'grievances and criticism' over the disqualification of many candidates and urged Iranians to turn en masse in the election in order to 'disappoint followers' of the opposite camp.

"The important onus is on the people to avoid shunning ballot boxes and cast their votes for those who have been qualified and are endorsed by the people.

"In this way, the followers of the other persuasion will become disappointed and they will come to know that disqualifications are not effective," he told a festival at Tehran university.

"I ask the people to come to the scene so that our friends in this side (of the political camp) do not fall in the trap of the other side," Karroubi added.

A certain camp, he said, is trying to tighten the stranglehold around their rivals in the parliamentary election in order to win it.

Karroubi repeated his 'grievances and criticism' over the mass disqualifications of the aspirants from the standing in the parliamentary polls, in which 290 seats are up for grabs.

The Guardians Council has declared over 2,000 prospective candidates from among more than 8,000 of the nominees as disqualified.

The supervisory body has said that the qualifications of more than 5,200 candidates had been approved, which meant there were 19 contestants for each seat of the parliament

The Guardians Council vets the candidates as well as parliamentary bills to vet their compliance with the Islamic Sharia law and the Constitution.

Karroubi and President Mohammad Khatami have expressed their dissatisfaction in letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Leader, however, demanded on Saturday that 'certain grievances' nursed by officials against each other in the electoral row be ignored in order to hold the forthcoming election in a 'healthy, lively and enthusiastic' climate.

"Our country today more than any time, needs unity and concord among the esteemed officials and the dignified nation expects as such from the country's officials," he said.


Karroubi also called on the Iranians to turn out massive in the February 11th rally to mark anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

"The people will show to the internal and foreign enemies that they have not set their eyes outside Iran and can resolve their problems themselves," he said.

Karroubi also highlighted the republican feature of the Islamic Republic and dismissed claims of certain individuals who say the founder the revolution late Imam Khomeini had accepted the republican nature of the establishment due to the exigencies of the time.

"The late Imam believed that the Islamism and republicanism of the establishment must be kept together. Imam's thinking was nothing short or in excess of an Islamic Republic.

"Those who have views of the stone age era must respond before God since Imam never wanted the republicanism of the establishment to suffer the least," he added.

... Payvand News - 2/10/04 ... --

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