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Khatami Expects Settlement Over Candidate Ban

Davos, 21 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami says that he expects a conservative-reformist confrontation over next month's parliamentary elections in Iran to reach a settlement.

At a news conference in Davos, where he is attending the World Economic Forum, Khatami said he and his allies have one goal, "to make sure that there is a free and competitive election."

He described the differences between his reformist supporters and Iran's conservative Guardians Council as "part of the election process."

The Guardians Council had barred 3,000 reformist candidates from standing for election to parliament, setting off protests and threats of resignation. The council since has begun reviewing the disqualifications, and has reinstated 300 candidates.

In a speech to the Davos forum, Khatami urged what he called the "big powers" to work for economic justice and true dialogue to improve the lives of the world's poor.