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Iranian Workers Barred From Running In Elections

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Alireza Mahjoub, the head of Iran's House of Workers, says the new election law prevents workers from becoming representatives and getting into Parliament.

Alireza Mahjoub

The Iranian Labour News Agency says the head of the House of Workers, who is also a representative in the current Parliament, spoke today at Allameh Tabatabai University, criticizing the newly approved election law. "Today, with the additional eligibility criterion that parliamentary nominees must have a graduate degree, only one percent of the population can actually run in elections, and this is completely unfair," Mahjoub said.

Mahjoub said the elections have become too restrictive, and the Guardian Council should challenge the criteria.

He added that the House of Workers usually endorses candidates from its own ranks, but with the new eligibility criteria, it was not able to find even a handful of candidates in the nationwide workers' community.

Last February, the Islamic Republic Parliament passed a law requiring parliamentary candidates to have a graduate or equivalent degree and five years of experience in a management or research and education capacity.

In the early years of the Islamic Republic, election candidates did not have to meet any academic criteria. However, the education bar has been steadily lifted in the years that followed.

Mahjoub added, however, that the House of Workers will endorse its own special candidates regardless.

All opposition groups, including reformists, have boycotted the coming parliamentary elections in March as a protest against the country's oppressive political atmosphere and the widespread imprisonment of political activists, as well as the house arrest of opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

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