Iran General NewsIran says no to foreign election observers

Iran says no to foreign election observers

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AFP: Iran said on Saturday that it will not accept any foreign monitoring of its June 17 presidential elections, asserting that international observers were neither permitted nor required.
“Observing the elections is a red line that no foreigner should cross,” said Gholam Hossien Elham, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardians Council — a hardline-controlled political watchdog. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran said on Saturday that it will not accept any foreign monitoring of its June 17 presidential elections, asserting that international observers were neither permitted nor required.

“Observing the elections is a red line that no foreigner should cross,” said Gholam Hossien Elham, a spokesman for Iran’s Guardians Council — a hardline-controlled political watchdog.

“Any talk of international monitoring of the elections in our country is against the constitution and the country’s national interest. There is no need for it,” he asserted.

His comments, made to Iranian media, came in response to reported calls from dissident Iranian groups for foreign observers.

In Iran, elections are organised by the interior ministry, currently controlled by reformists, and supervised by the Guardians Council — which also screens all candidates who register to stand.

The Guardians Council came in for heavy criticism during the February 2004 parliamentary elections, which most pro-reform candidates were barred from contesting on the grounds of questionable loyalty to the Islamic regime.

Hardliners — who already wield power through the courts, political watchdogs, state media and security forces — now hold a huge majority of seats in parliament and are aiming for the presidency.

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