Iran General NewsIranian interior ministry says polls to go ahead despite...

Iranian interior ministry says polls to go ahead despite disqualifications

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AFP: Iran’s interior ministry, which is still controlled by reformists, said Monday that presidential election would go ahead as scheduled on June 17 even though powerful hardliners have disqualified the main pro-reform candidate. “We are bound by the law to organise the election on the given date,” interior ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told AFP. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran’s interior ministry, which is still controlled by reformists, said Monday that presidential election would go ahead as scheduled on June 17 even though powerful hardliners have disqualified the main pro-reform candidate.

“We are bound by the law to organise the election on the given date,” interior ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told AFP.

In February 2004, the ministry had threatened not to organise parliamentary elections after the Guardians Council — which acts as a political and electoral watchdog — blocked almost all of the Islamic republic’s reformists from standing.

The Guardians Council announced late Sunday that just six out of 1,014 would-be candidates would be allowed to stand in the presidential polls.

The choice of candidates is limited to powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani — seen as a more pragmatic conservative — four hardliners and one centrist cleric.

Eliminated from the race was the only serious reformist challenger, Mustafa Moin.

Khanjani said those disqualified could appeal, “but it is up to the Guardians Council if it wants to consider appeals.”

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