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Iran's Guardians Council Rejects Electoral Reform Bill

Tehran, 26 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's hard-line Guardians Council has reportedly rejected an electoral reform bill aimed at reversing a ban on liberal candidates taking part in elections next month.

Earlier yesterday, Iranian lawmakers voted in to overturn the ban of thousands of candidates from running in the 20 February parliamentary poll. But Iranian legislators told Western news agencies that the Guardians Council had vetoed that move late last night.

One legislator, Reza Yousefian, said that protesting lawmakers will now consider their next move, which might include, he said, mass resignations or a boycott of the elections.

Allies of reformist President Mohammad Khatami accuse the unelected Guardians Council of seeking to help conservative candidates reverse their loss to reformists in the 2000 parliamentary elections.