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Khatami vows legal action against poll bans

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Jan 11, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami pledged Sunday to 
tap legal channels as it emerged that a large number of hopefuls, 
including many incumbent MPs, had been barred from standing in 
February`s parliamentary election. 
Meanwhile, 70 deputies temporarily walked out of the parliament 
session earlier in the day and held a sit-in to protest against the 
disqualifications, with one key MP threatening to divulge the names of
those who pull the strings in banning the aspirants. 
"I do not agree with this way of disqualifications and I will use 
legal channels to deal with this issue, which I hope will bear fruit,"
Khatami told reporters after a cabinet session. 
"This issue must be examined and if (it) turns out to be 
illegitimate, it must be confronted," he said. 
"I think what has happened contradicts the view of the Supreme 
Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)," he said before adding, "We must 
always be worried about the public dissatisfaction and God willing, 
the Guardian Council will make amends." 
Among the rejected are many incumbent MPs, including Mohammad 
Reza Khatami, deputy speaker and brother of President Khatami. He 
threatened to reveal the names of those behind the rejections if 
parliament efforts to rescind the disqualifications prove futile. 
"We are witnessing the most wide scale rejection in the history of 
the Iranian parliament. The reason for the rejections as well as any 
thing behind the scene is crystal clear to us," he told reporters. 
"The sit-in today is the beginning of a movement which will have 
more ramifications and if the legitimate demands of the MPs are not 
addressed, it will become more widespread and take up other 
dimensions," he said. 
Mohammad Reza Khatami said they will start with protests to begin 
with and continue `according to our programs` which he did not reveal.
The official did not rule out an en bloc resignation. 
President Khatami, however, appealed on all political groups to 
stay calm and move in the framework of the law and avoid doing 
anything which may lead to tensions. 
"Majlis (parliament) shows sensitivity toward the country`s fate 
and this is natural, but I advise (the MPs) to remain calm and God 
willing, we will manage to resolve the problem through peaceful 
means," he said. 
"Any action which may create tensions must be avoided and instead 
ways which help the protests bear fruit must be explored," Khatami 
He, however, denounced the supervisory electoral board`s move in 
barring prominent figures from standing in the elections. 
"Rejection of famous figures makes no sense. If the reason for 
their disqualification has been proved, they (the board) must present 
evidence and reasons," Khatami said. 
The head of parliament`s national security and foreign policy 
commission, Mohsen Mirdamadi, said the supervisory board had barred 
the first and second parliament deputies, Mohammad Reza Khatami and 
Behzad Nabavi, on the grounds that they were disloyal to Islam and the
Islamic Republic as well as the supreme leader. 
"This is a civilian coup d`etat," he said, adding, "They have 
barred certain individuals in every electoral constituency in order to
clear the way for their favorite candidates. 
"By doing so, they have practically specified the make-up of the 
seventh parliament from now and this is not an election, but a 
selection," he added. 

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