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Iran's Provincial Governors Want Poll Postponed

Tehran, 29 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- All of Iran's provincial governors have called on the government to postpone next month's parliamentary elections, saying the barring of thousands of candidates means the vote would not be free and fair.

Interior Ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani says the 27 governors reached the decision unanimously at a meeting in Tehran late yesterday.

All of the governors were appointed by President Mohammad Khatami, who is calling for the Guardians Council to overturn its original decision to bar almost half of 8,200 aspirants from the 20 February poll.

The unelected 12-man conservative group has since approved about 700 of those initially rejected after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the council to review its decision.