Thursday, February 05, 2004

Iran compromise fails 

The Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) says that the Guardian Council is once again interfering with efforts to reinstate moderate candidates. Yesterday, Ayatollah Khameini ordered a second review of the banned candidates, this time by the Intelligence Ministry.

Under the plan announced Wednesday, the Intelligence Ministry was to review the list of 2,400 reformist candidates who have been disqualified by the hard-line Guardian Council. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the ministry, which is led by reformists, to conduct the review.

"The Intelligence Ministry had to provide the list to the Guardian Council as a legal formality, and the council was required to forward that list to the Interior Ministry without any intervention," Reza Khatami said.

Instead, the Guardian Council approved only 51 of a list of 600 names endorsed by the Intelligence Ministry, he said.

"The compromise has failed. The Guardian Council has interfered after the Intelligence Ministry approved 600 candidates who were previously disqualified," he said.
The two reviews of candidates, first by the Guardian Council and now by the Intelligence Ministry, have reinstated only one third of those originally banned. Well over two thousand moderate candidates are still barred from running for the parliament.

So much for all the talk we heard yesterday about the crisis being over... The religious conservatives must feel very confident in their ability to wrest power from the reformers and to weather any storm that results.

Speaking of conservatives and reformers, Amir Taheri doesn't believe those are accurate descriptions of the two sides, which he sees as "two brands of Khomeinism, one presumably 'lite', the other hard."

Interesting. But do the people of Iran see it that way?
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