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Parliament Speaker: Entire world looking at Iran's election process

Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said on Monday that the entire world are looking at the process of the seventh parliamentary election and the extent of public participation in the polls, IRNA repored from Tehran.

In a meeting with members of the headquarters in charge of celebrating the Ten-Day Dawn (February 1-11), Karroubi said that the late Imam Khomeini attached high importance to people's presence in the election.

In the first year after victory of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini invited people five times to hold election, because he believed that the people themselves should lay the foundation of the Islamic Republic.

"On the early days after victory of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini could have selected the president or other top officials, but, he wanted the people to do the job themselves thanks to the democratic nature of the Islamic Republic.

"The Iranian people want to make sure that their personality is respected and that they will punish those who may be responsible for insulting them or their thoughts," Karroubi said.

"We should make effort to hold Ten-Day Dawn celebrations magnificently. As long as we are getting away from the time of victory of the Islamic Revolution and the imposed war era, certain issues are losing their weight, even those loyal to the values of the Islamic Revolution are currently being alienated," he said.

"Our friends and enemies will consider two matters in the next month: 1. How the system respects the people's constitutional rights by creating no illegal obstacles to their representatives and 2. Presence of people in the election," Karroubi said.

"There are two ways for a government to remain in power, it should either rely on people or rely on foreign powers. There is not a third option to remain in power," he said.

"The public support for the late Imam Khomeini played a key role in his leadership. Despite the difficulty of losing him, at least nine million people gathered at Tehran Mosalla to take part in the funeral procession from Mosalla to Behesht-e Zahra cemetery," Karroubi said.

"Unfortunately, part of people's expectations from the Islamic Republic has not been realized. Their political and economic rights have not been respected. We should stick to the slogan of independence, freedom and the Islamic Republic, otherwise, we will lead a gloomy life," he said.

Prior to Karroubi's remarks, the head of the headquarters in charge of celebrating Ten-Day Dawn said that 400 teams will organize the celebrations of 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution throughout the country.

Khatami's office complains of 'censorship' by state broadcasting

President Mohammad Khatami's office has criticized the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for mostly 'censoring and curtailing' the executive head's statements and speech.

The head of the office, Ali Khatami, has written a letter to the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Ali Larijani, in which he has criticized the state television and radio for often censoring the president.

The last straw, prompting the Presidential Office to write a protest letter, came when IRIB allegedly "omitted and censored the key points" of the joint statement, issued recently by Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi following a wholesale disqualification of parliamentary candidates.

"Announcing our complaints, we remind that this is not the first time that the spirit of His Excellency Mr. Khatami's speech has been either censored or expunged by the radio and television," said the letter, a copy of which was available to IRNA Monday.

The joint statement of Khatami and Karroubi came on Saturday, calling for 'a fundamental review at the earliest' of the wholesale disqualifications, which bar many candidates from standing in the next month's elections.

In the statement, the two officials described the rejections as 'unworthy of the religious and democratic establishment' of the Islamic Republic and called for 'healthy, free and competitive elections'.

Over 3,600 candidates from among more than 8,000 of those registered for the February 20 elections have been declared as disqualified by the supervisory electoral boards.

Dozens of incumbent MPs, mostly barred from standing again, have held sit-ins to protest the blanket disqualifications.

On Monday, the Guardians Council confirmed that it had rejected an emergency amendment to the electoral law to make the supervisory boards' vetting of the prospective candidates less stringent.

The council's public relations office said it found the bill, approved on Sunday as 'contravening the Sharia law and the Constitution over some cases'.

... Payvand News - 1/26/04 ... --

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