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Iran Guardian Council reinstates banned parliamentary candidates

[JURIST] The Iranian Guardian Council [official website], the upper parliamentary chamber composed of twelve members, on Wednesday reinstated more than 280 parliamentary candidates in preparation for next month's parliamentary elections. Last month, Iran's Interior Ministry banned over 2,000 moderates and reformists from running in the March parliamentary election. Among those banned were 190 of 200 candidates from the main reformist group in Iran, the Islamic Participation Front [Wikipedia backgrounder], 230 of approximately 300 candidates by the National Trust Party established by ex-parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi and all candidates affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organization. Ali Eshraghi, the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [TIME profile] who founded Iran's Islamic republic, was among the candidates reinstated Wednesday.

Last month, former Iranian presidents Mohammad Khatami [BBC profile] and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani [official website] and ex-parliamentary speaker Karroubi spoke [JURIST report] to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official website] about overturning the ban. Khamenei has historically been unsympathetic to the reformists' cause and refused to reverse similar disqualifications before the 2004 parliamentary election [JURIST op-ed]. While the Guardian Council reinstated 280 candidates Wednesday, reformists say that only 25 of the reinstated candidates were considered reformers and that the small number of reformist candidates will not be enough for them to make a change in the election. AP has more.

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