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Iranian Reformers Warn They May Boycott February Polls

Tehran, 7 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- An Iranian politician says pro-reform parties may boycott next month's parliamentary elections if many of their candidates are barred from running by hard-liners.

Iran's Guardians Council is expected to reveal next week how many of the over 8,000 potential candidates for the poll it has disqualified. Many of the hard-line clerics that dominate the constitutional oversight body oppose reformers.

Behzad Nabavi, a deputy parliament speaker, today told a news conference that boycotting the February poll is an option if hard-liners create unfair voting conditions by disqualifying too many candidates.

President Mohammed Khatami has called on the Guardians Council not to veto many candidates.