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Guardians Council To Be 'Lenient' With Candidates

Tehran, 23 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The head of Iran's Guardians Council, which barred more than 3,000 candidates in next month's parliamentary elections, said today the council will be "lenient to candidates" when reviewing its decision.

But Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the political watchdog, dominated by hard-liners, will stay "within the boundaries of the law."

Jannati said the council will inform candidates of any changes by 30 January.

Most of the candidates banned by the Guardians Council are pro-reformists. Reformists have threatened an election boycott and several cabinet members have said they will resign unless the council backs down.

A council official, Mohammad Jahromi, said that to date the council has reinstated 350 candidates.

Saeed Shariati, a member of Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, said today that approval of what he called "a few little-known" candidates was "meaningless." He told AP that "no one will be fooled by such tactics."