May 23, 2005

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON:

Consider reformers, orders Ayatollah (Tim Butcher, 24/05/2005, Daily Telegraph)

Hardliners in Iran suffered a rare public rebuke from the country's supreme spiritual leader yesterday, when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei helped two reformist candidates running in the presidential election next month.

State radio said Ayatollah Khamenei issued an official decree for the Guardian Council, an unelected body vetting all those standing for public office, to rethink its disqualification of reformists from the poll on June 17.

International concern over Iran's nuclear programme gives this poll significance beyond the Middle East.

The Ayatollah did not give his backing to either candidate, but said that for the legitimacy of the election it was important for various political opinions to be represented. "It is desired that all people in the country from different political interests have the opportunity to take part in the big test of the elections," the decree said.

The council must reconsider the candidacies of Mostafa Moin and Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh, two of the highest profile reformists in a country where the clash of reactionaries and modernisers dominates politics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 23, 2005 6:22 PM
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