Sunday, February 01, 2004

Iran parliament members resign 

One hundred members of Iran's parliament have resigned in protest of the ban on reformist candidates for this month's elections, making good on their earlier threat.

TEHRAN, Iran - More than a third of the Iranian parliament resigned Sunday and the speaker delivered a stinging rebuke to the hard-line Guardian Council for its disqualification of hundreds of liberal candidates in upcoming elections.
It might be a "stinging rebuke," but it's hard not to see this as a victory for the hardliners. They have reinstated a relative handful of reformist candidates--about 1,160 out of around 3,600 who were disqualified originally. If they go ahead with the elections, the hardliners will come out way ahead, and it's hard not to see them taking that opportunity, even with all 28 provincial governors calling for a boycott. With many reformist candidates still barred, and with the strong possibility of reform-minded Iranians staying home on election day, it could turn out to be nearly a clean sweep for the conservatives. The interesting part would be to see what happens if events unfold that way. It could mean the end of any hope for real democracy in Iran for some time to come. It could lead to a large uprising, but the conservatives control the military, so any rebellion could be easily squashed. Stay tuned... this could get very interesting very quickly.
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