Iranian media reports say hard-line lawmakers have petitioned authorities to bar two prominent contenders from next month's presidential election.
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said on May 15 that around 100 lawmakers sent a petition to the Guardians Council, which vets potential candidates, to disqualify ex-President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close aide to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
The council has until May 21 to announce a shortlist of candidates that will contest the June 14 election.
The candidacy of Mashaei and Rafsanjani, a moderate conservative backed by reformists, presents a challenge to conservative front-runners loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad, constitutionally barred from running for office, has backed Mashaei despite disapproval from Khamenei.
Ultraconservatives have denounced Mashaei as part of a "deviant current" opposing Islamic rule.
Based on reporting by AP, Fars, and Mehr