The powerful Iranian body that vets election hopefuls has approved 3,444 candidates to run in that country's parliamentary polls on March 2. More than 5,000 people had applied with the clerically dominated Guardians Council to run in the elections.
Reports suggested it appeared the Guardian Council had barred many potential supporters of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad from running, thus giving a boost to loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei's supporters are sharply critical of the Ahmadinejad government for its handling of the sluggish Iranian economy.
However, both groups are hostile to the West.
Pro-reformists are seen as marginalized and not involved in the elections in a meaningful sense.
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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