Monday, February 09, 2004

Stop complaining!

The "Supreme Leader" of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says that Iranians should stop complaining about the upcoming "elections", even though 2,000 "reformist candidates" have been banned from running. (Thanks Giles)

Iran's supreme leader has ordered an end to complaints about the banning of 2,000 reformist candidates from general elections later this month.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dashed any final hopes of a delay to allow a resolution to the country's political crisis.

President Mohammad Khatami had argued that the conservative vetting council had been wrong in its blacklist, which includes most well-known reformists.

But he conceded defeat and agreed the 20 February vote could go ahead.

Mr Khatami and parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karrubi sent a joint letter to Ayatollah Khamenei complaining that the unelected Guardians Council had disregarded the leader's instructions to review the credentials of disqualified candidates, especially among the scores of sitting reformist deputies who have been ruled out.

The letter warned that the actions of the council had diminished competition and would lead to reduced public enthusiasm for voting.

But in a reply, read on state radio, the supreme leader said the importance of holding elections outweighed other concerns.

"For the sake of the election, some complaints from all parties involved need to be ignored and everyone must work hand in hand," he said.


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