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Iranian Governors Threaten to Resign over Election Ban

VOA News

Iran's provincial governors have threatened to resign unless a decision to disqualify at least 80 reformist lawmakers from next month's parliamentary elections is reversed within a week.

Senior officials in Tehran said Sunday 27 provincial governors made the threat in a letter Iran's reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.

The letter to President Khatami came after lawmakers announced that Iran's Guardian Council, an unelected body dominated by hard-line Islamic clerics, has disqualified 80 reformist members of parliament from the February 20 elections.

Reformists won the elections to the 290 member "Majlis" four years ago, but the hardline-dominated Council has the power to overrule parliamentary decisions.

Scores of reformist lawmakers began a sit-in protest at the parliament building in Tehran Sunday after the news became public, as parliamentary leaders condemned the disqualifications.

Earlier Sunday, reformist President Mohammad Khatami called for calm and said he will pursue legal action to have the ban lifted. He was expected to discuss the disqualifications with the Guardian Council in the near future.

Those falling under the ban include the president's brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, who heads the country's largest reform group, the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

Reports circulating Sunday say the Guardian Council has disqualified more than a quarter of the 8,000 prospective candidates who registered for the upcoming parliamentary ballot. Some parties have threatened to boycott the poll, if too many candidates are banned from running.

... Payvand News - 1/12/04 ... --

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