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IIC welcomes President Clinton's apology to the Iranian nation

Election body disqualifies reformists in Tehran vote

TEHRAN, April 27 (AFP) - Iran's conservative electoral supervisory committee has confirmed the disqualification of five leading reformists elected to the Tehran municipal council in February.

Among those disqualified was former interior minister Abdollah Nuri, the leading vote-getter in the capital in February's election, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

Nuri and four other reformists elected to the Tehran municipal council were not included in a list of final results released on Tuesday from the municipal elections in 16 out of 28 Iranian provinces.

Candidates backing reformist President Mohammad Khatami won all 15 seats up for grabs in Tehran in the February vote, the first municipal elections in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reformists also made major gains nationwide following a bitterly fought campaign against conservatives.

Iran's interior ministry has repeatedly said the elections were valid and insisted that the the deadline to challenge the results has passed.

The first official session of the Tehran municipal council is scheduled to be held on Thursday in the presence of Khatami, leaving the interior ministry two days to try to clarify the outcome.

Hardline MP Ali Mohavedi Savoji, head of the Council Supervisory Board (CSB), said last month that Nouri and the four others would be disqualified because they "failed to turn in their resignations from their posts before the elections."

Under Iran's election law, candidates in the municipal polls were required to have resigned from any other positions ahead of the vote.

Like Nuri, Ahmad Hakimi-Pour and Mohammad Atrianfar, both senior reformist civil servants, were disqualified because they had not resigned from their other official posts before standing as candidates.

The election of former deputy intelligence minister Said Hajarian, the director of the moderate daily Sobh-e-Emrouz, was annulled because of the "ambiguous nature" of his written commitment to the constitutional principle of Velayat-e-Faqih, or supreme rule by the country's spiritual guide.

Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a leader of the 1980 hostage-taking of US diplomats in Tehran, was disqualified because of his judicial record with a revolutionary court.

Even without the five, the Tehran municipal council remains dominated by reformists, although at least three conservative candidates could enter the body through a substitution-list.

The tug-of-war over the municipal council is part of a wider-ranging struggle between conservatives and reformists in the Islamic Republic.

On Saturday, the conservative-dominated parliament will examine an impeachment motion against moderate Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, accused of "laxity" towards the press and artistic activities.


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