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Iranian Parliament Approves Crisis Bill

Tehran, 25 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's parliament today approved a bill that seeks to overturn the disqualification of thousands of liberal candidates in next month's parliamentary elections.

It was the first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution that the parliament has approved what is called a "triple-urgency bill" -- the highest designation of importance.

The bill seeks to amend the national Elections Law and force the conservative Guardians Council, which oversees elections, to allow all lawmakers or candidates approved in past elections to run for office unless strong legal documentation proves them unfit.

The call was approved during an open session of parliament today, a day after Iran's president and parliament speaker jointly warned that liberal candidates would be unable to contest more than two-thirds of the seats in upcoming legislative elections unless the Guardians Council lifts its ban on who can run.