posted on May, 15 2005 @ 03:52 PM
More than 500 prominent Iranian reformists have signed a letter stating that they will not participate in the upcoming June 17th elections, arguing
that the Guardian Council's vetting of candidates limits the population's freedom of choice. The conservative Council has the power to disqualify
candidates from running in Iranian elections.
The statement was signed by some former members of parliament and also intellectuals who supported reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
It said that "the people only have the freedom to choose from among those candidates chosen by the state".
"People are being called to participate while many of the most important circles of power and the appointed people have complete control on all the
avenues of executive power," the statement said.
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I see this as a positive step for Iranian reformers. In the last Iranian election, more than 2,000 candidates were disqualified from running,
undercutting the ability of Iranians to choose their own leadership.
Since that election, a lot of Iran's young reformists have become increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of progress in Iran. Iran's current
President Mohammad Khatami is a reformist who favors reconciliation with the West, but has been able to make little headway due to resistance from
religious conservatives. Khatami is forbidden from running for a third term by Iran's constitution.
All of us who hope to see a free and modern Iran should thank the courageous dissenters who have made this bold statement. With tensions increasing
over Iran's nuclear program, the Iranian reformers are our best hope for peace in the region.