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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK

World: Middle East

Iran MPs back candidate vetting

Parliament in Iran has approved a measure to maintain the system of vetting election candidates for their adherence to Islamic principles.

The vetting is carried out by the Council of Guardians, a body dominated by conservatives who have blocked thousands of individuals from standing in past elections.

The measure was introduced after MPs who support the reformist policies of President Khatami moved to end the system ahead of parliamentary elections next year.

They finally agreed to a compromise whereby a rejected candidate would have the right to a written explanation from the Council for its decision. The twelve-man Council was set up in 1980 soon after the Islamic revolution which brought the late Ayatollah Khomeini to power.

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