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Archive for Friday, February 6, 2004

Candidate compromise fails in Iran; reformists maintain boycott of election

February 6, 2004

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— Iran's latest attempt to resolve its worst political crisis in years failed after reformists accused the hardline Guardian Council of interfering in a compromise brokered by the country's supreme leader.

"The compromise has failed," deputy speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami, among those the Guardian Council has disqualified from seeking re-election, told reporters.

Khatami said his Islamic Iran Participation Front, the country's largest reform group, would maintain its boycott of the Feb. 20 parliamentary elections.

"The previous trend has continued," he said. "The Feb. 20 elections will not be legal and free. My party will not participate in this election."

Meanwhile, reformist lawmakers ended a 26-day sit-in to protest disqualifications, declaring that they, too, would boycott the elections.

"Given the fact that no fundamental changes have occurred in overturning the illegal disqualifications, we, the lawmakers, declare with regret that will not participate in the Feb. 20 vote because it's illegal, unfair and not free," the lawmakers said Thursday in a statement made available to journalists.

Without major reformist parties, voter turnout likely will be low and hardline candidates could easily retake control of parliament.

The Guardian Council, which is appointed by Khamenei, disqualified more than 2,400 reformist lawmakers and politicians from the elections, and all attempts by reformists to reach a compromise failed.

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