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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 15:22 GMT
Poll moves polarise Iran's press
Iranian press graphic

Sharpening political tensions in Iran over the 20 February elections to the parliament, or Majlis, preoccupy the country's newspapers on Saturday.

Conservative commentators maintain that the polls should go ahead as scheduled, despite reformist opposition.

The reformist press, by contrast, paints a gloomy picture of the possible outcome.

We are receiving inauspicious reports from the Interior Ministry these days that officials in charge of the administration of the elections are not ready to hold the 20 February polls... This unexpected move comes at a time when the Guardian Council's assessment of the competency of the Majlis candidates ended on Friday... and everything is ready for the holding of free, legal and competitive elections on schedule.

Jomhuri-ye Eslami - hardline

By their participation in the seventh Majlis elections, our people are once again ready to display their alert presence at the polls and to create another epic, despite the fact that their expectations of the reformist government have not been realised.

Qods - conservative

Accepting elections under the conditions which the Guardian Council has imposed means the end for the reformist movement in the legislative arena. It is ultimately the realisation of the slogan: 'Death to reformists'.

Sharq - reformist

With such treatment, the disqualification of 80 MPs from the current sixth Majlis... and the situation we are in, should we not be scared for our future? Ultimately, the people and the candidates for the seventh Majlis have to be informed of the reasons for their disqualification.

Mardom-Salari - reformist

The truth is that the self-confidence of the conservatives in ignoring popular support is worrying... It is quite clear that the current procedure already determined for the elections will have a severe impact on turnout. If the turnout is low... the power-seeking faction should definitely think of something to fill the resultant vacuum.

Etemaad - reformist

These are undoubtedly fateful and momentous days in the history of the Islamic revolution and the Islamic Republic... However... the peace-seeking and stability-seeking efforts of reformists... are not effective in bringing about free elections, and there is a strong wish for a non-military coup d'etat and a change to the system. The reformists have no choice but to reject the disgraceful, made-to-measure fraudulent election.

Entekhab - centre right

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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