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Iran's Supreme Leader Says Election Will Be 'Slap In The Face' For West


People walk past a billboard in Tehran for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran on March 2.

People walk past a billboard in Tehran for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iran on March 2.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted a high turnout for Iran's March 2 parliamentary elections, describing the event as "another slap in the face" to Western powers.

His comments come as more than 3,400 registered candidates wrapped up their weeklong campaign for the 290 seats in Iran's legislature, the Majlis.

Earlier, the influential supervisory Guardians Council announced that no international observers would be permitted to monitor the polls.

Guardians Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodai said on March 1 that the presence of international observers would be "an insult" to the Iranian people.

The Guardians Council vets candidates and validates the results of Iranian elections.

Some 48 million Iranians are eligible to vote.

Analysts predict a comfortable victory by the ruling conservative faction loyal to the supreme leader.

Khamenei's supporters are sharply critical of the government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad over its handling of Iran's sluggish economy.

However, both groups are hostile to the West.

Pro-reformists are seen as marginalized and not involved in the elections in a meaningful sense.

With dpa, AFP, and Fars reporting

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