Iranian Conservative Says MPs and Governors Who Quit May be Prosecuted
February 02, 2004
Agence France Presse
An Iranian conservative official involved in rejecting more than 3,000 would-be candidates for elections due this month warned in remarks reported Monday that poll officials and MPs who had resigned in protest could be prosecuted.
"Election officials within the executive, particularly provincial governors, prefects, sub-prefects, must know that, in the present situation, any resignation is viewed as a hindrance to the electoral process and may bring about prosecution," said Hojatoleslam Ahmad Azimizadeh, quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA.
Azizimizadeh is head of the electoral control commission for greater Tehran.
The electoral commissions are responsible to the hardline conservative Guardians Council, which on their advice barred 3,605 of 8,000 would-be candidates for the February 20 elections, most of them reformists.
The move sparked probably the worst political crisis in the history of the Islamic republic, which is marking its 25th anniversary this week.
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the Guardians Council to review the files on the barred candidates but it reinstated only 1,160, leaving some 2,500 out of the running, including around 80 sitting MPs.
The provincial governors, charged by the interior ministry with organising the election, resigned afterwards. They were followed on Sunday by around 120 MPs, a move that could paralyse parliament.
"This sort of action against a legal procedure can be viewed as a lack of loyalty towards the Islamic Republic," said Azimizadeh, adding that this was open to prosecution.
He added: "These (MPs') resignations, the tone of the statement which accompanied their action, and the statements of some of the barred candidates, show the Guardians Council carried out its work well, within respect of the law."
His commission was determined to work with the executive so that the elections take place as scheduled, he said, amid reformist demands for the polls to be postponed. http://www.afp.com/english/home/