EU calls for Fair Iranian elections

The European Union on Monday called for fair elections in Iran and criticized the disqualification of hundreds of liberal candidates, reports &to=' target=_blank>AP. Iran's Interior Ministry says a decision by the conservative Guardians Council to prevent many reform candidates from standing in next month's parliamentary elections is "illegal." &to=' target=_blank>(RFE/RL) President Mohammad Khatami has pledged to fight the disqualifications and reformist members of parliament staged a sit-in protest for a second consecutive day Monday at the legislature. Reformist leaders also have threatened to boycott the election. The 12-member Guardian Council, which comprises conservatives picked by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, disqualified about 900 of the 1,700 people who wanted to contest seats in Tehran have been disqualified, informs &to=' target=_blank>AP . The agency also reports that disqualified have the option to appeal the decision. The Scotsman reports that 8,200 prospective candidates registered last month to run in the elections for 290 seats. Their qualifications must be approved by local trustees and then the Guardian Council.

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said the government “will not consider illegal decisions by any body as binding.”

That means the Interior Ministry, which is controlled by reformists, may ignore the Guardian Council’s rulings and put the disqualified names on the ballots.

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