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Iranian Government Says Elections Back On Track

Tehran, 5 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's government says it expects the 20 February parliamentary elections to be back on course following another intervention in the crisis by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters that officials expect that an acceptable result will be reached by this afternoon that will allow the elections to go forward as planned.

Khamenei is reported to have called for a second review of more than 2,000 candidates -- mostly pro-reformists, including more than 80 sitting parliament members -- who were disqualified by the conservative, unelected Guardians Council from running in the elections.

Khamenei, who has the final word on all state matters, has ruled out any postponement of the poll.

Pro-reformists including President Mohammad Khatami have threatened an election boycott unless the disqualified candidates are reinstated, arguing that the election would be undemocratic without their participation.