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Iran's Interior Minister terms Feb-20 elections illegal

Interior Minister Seyed Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari on Saturday announced that negotiations between the cabinet and Guardians Council (GC) on disqualification of the nominees have produced no positive results, IRNA reported from Tehran.

He expressed his belief that the election half of whose would-be deputies have already been selected would be illegal.

Speaking to reporters at the mausoleum of the late Imam Khomeini, he added that no positive results have been obtained from the recent discussions between the cabinet and GC members.

"The only decision made at the end of talks, was to increase the number of disqualified contenders from 83 to 87," he added.

He noted that given the absence of any competition in half of the electoral centers and selection of the would-be representatives, the February-20 election would be illegal.

In response to a question whether the illegality of the election means that the Interior Ministry would not hold the seventh election, he said, "Naturally, holding election would be out of question."

A reporter asked Lari whether there would be legal justifications for the Interior Ministry not to hold election if it considers it as illegal.

"The government has the right to avoid holding the election if it finds the balloting against the national interests," he replied.

Asked if the government would eventually hold the scheduled Majlis elections, he dismissed the chance, unless a change would take place.

In reply to a correspondent asking, "What changes do you mean?" he said, "Letting the public vote for their desired candidates and giving the nominees from different factions the chance to run for elections."

A journalist raised a question on the possible revision of the qualifications of Majlis hopefuls by GC, to which Lari said that there is no way out of it.

Referring to the likelihood that the resignation of a number of governors general and ministers will be accepted, he said that they should normally be confirmed.

"The governors general who were set to resign did not even respond to our call to examine the issue more closely. They just set a deadline for it up to the present week," he added.

The minister said that President Mohammad Khatami should normally accept their resignation.

Concerning his own resignation, he said, "There is no rush, as I have to keep on doing my best up to the end."

Turning to the probable extraordinary session to be held on Saturday by the cabinet on the issues concerning election, he said that in general, the government is dissatisfied with what has taken place and finds the recent events illegal and unprincipled.

... Payvand News - 1/31/04 ... --

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