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Iran Reformers Threaten Boycott, Guardians Back Down

Tehran, 19 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's political party today threatened to boycott upcoming elections unless hard-liners reverse the rejection of thousands of reformist candidates.

The hard-line Guardians Council -- an unelected body with sweeping powers -- last week said it had barred nearly half of 8,200 candidates hoping to run in the 20 February vote.

But council officials today said that many of those originally disqualified will eventually be allowed to stand. Council member Ahmad Azimizadeh did not mention figures. It remains uncertain whether the revised candidate list will be enough to satisfy protesting reformers.