Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has criticized the disqualification of reformist candidates by hard-liners from national elections scheduled later in February.
Rafsanjani’s remarks on February 1 reflect a deepening dispute between Iran’s hard-liner and reformist factions ahead of the February 26 vote.
The Guardians Council, a vetting body made up of clerics and jurists, excluded thousands of parliamentary hopefuls and four-fifths of the candidates for the body that will choose Iran's next supreme leader.
The move was a setback for moderate President Hassan Rohani and his powerful ally, Rafsanjani, who was president from 1989 to 1997.
Among those excluded was Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the Islamic republic's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He has close ties with reformists.
Rafsanjani told Iran’s state-run ISNA news agency: “They disqualified the grandson of Imam Khomeini, who is the most similar person to his grandfather.”