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Iranian Reformists Call For Reversal On Candidate Ban

Iran's reformist political parties have called on the country's Guardians Council to reverse its decision to disqualify large numbers of moderates from being candidates in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Nine parties issued a statement on January 20 noting that only 30 of the some 3,000 reformist candidates who applied to be candidates in the February 26 election were allowed to run by the Guardians Council, a constitutional watchdog controlled by hard-liners.

But Guardians Council chief Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying the council "will not be influenced by pressure."

His deputy, Siamak Rahpeik, said on the counci's website that it's likely that as many as 15 percent of those who were disqualified by the Guardians Council will be reinstated during a review process.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told state TV that "enthusiasm" should be drummed up ahead of the elections to increase voter turnout.

Rohani has vowed to use all his constitutional powers to reinstate those candidates who have been barred.

The 290-seat parliament is currently dominated by conservatives.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters