Iran's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has criticized the disqualification of reformist candidates by hard-liners from national elections scheduled later in February. Rafsanjani's remarks on February 1 reflect a deepening dispute between Iran's hard-liner and reformist factions ahead of the February 26 vote.
Read full remarks by Rafsanjani (center) published by Ghanoon daily
The Guardians Council, a vetting body made up of clerics and jurists, excluded thousands of parliamentary hopefuls and four-fifths of the candidates for the body that will choose Iran's next supreme leader.
The move was a setback for moderate President Hassan Rohani and his powerful ally, Rafsanjani, who was president from 1989 to 1997.
Among those excluded was Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the Islamic republic's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He has close ties with reformists.
Rafsanjani told Iran's state-run ISNA news agency: "They disqualified the grandson of Imam Khomeini, who is the most similar person to his grandfather."
Based on reporting by Reuters and ISNA
Source: Radio Zamaneh
The Guardian Council reports that 6,000 candidates have appealed their disqualification by the council to run in parliamentary elections.
Satire on massive disqualification of candidates
(source: Iranian daily Ghanoon)
Council spokesman Nejatollah Ebrahimian said the council has a 20-day period to review these appeals, which will end on February 6.
He said some of the candidates may be approved in the Guardian Council's second round of review.
Ebrahimian said "a lack of practical commitment to Islam" is one of the chief reasons for disqualification from running in the elections.
The Guardian Council has disqualified more than 8,000 of the 12,000 candidates who registered to run for a seat in Parliament.
Reformists say only 30 of their 3,000 candidates have been approved. Reformists have announced that they have presented a list of 208 disqualified reformist candidates to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, to seek his discretion to grant approval.
The reformists have stressed that they will not boycott the elections and will press through legal channels to get more candidates approved to run in the elections.
The parliamentary elections will be held on February 26.
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