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BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran
"Tension behind the scenes"
 real 28k

Sunday, 12 March, 2000, 04:09 GMT
Reformist victories cancelled in Iran
Khatami supporters
Iranians voted overwhelmingly for reform
A dispute has broken out in Iran between different authorities over the results of last month's general elections in which reformist candidates won a sweeping victory over their conservative rivals.

Three results in last month's elections have been cancelled without explanation by the central election body, the Council of Guardians.

The victories of reformist candidates have been declared invalid in the southern cities of Bandar Abbas, Minab, and Gachsaran.

But the head of the interior ministry's election department, said the Council of Guardians had failed to provide any documents or evidence to justify the step.

And he warned that if the council did not come up with appropriate documentation, the interior ministry would validate the results.

Unfortunately this sort of decision shakes the confidence of the people in the authorities and the regime

Reformist leader in the outgoing Iranian parliament
The reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front has expressed concern that the Council of Guardians, which is dominated by conservatives, would cancel other election results in the next few days.

The leader of the reformist minority in the outgoing parliament, Majid Ansari, condemned the cancellation of the results as "arbitrary", according to the official news agency IRNA.

Mr Ansari said that the reformists would propose a bill requiring any cancellation of results to be justified in writing.

Reruns and recounts

Reformist supporters of President Mohammad Khatami scored a massive victory in last month's vote - winning 226 of the 290 seats in parliament after the first round of the elections.

A remaining 64 seats are due to be contested in a second round on 21 April.

President Khatami
The cancellations will barely dent President Khatami's victory
A recount of votes cast for the 30 seats in the capital Tehran was begun last week but then suspended.

Reformists initially won 29 of 30 seats, but a dispute arose as to whether former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was backed by conservatives and moderates, had just squeezed in to win the last seat.

He has now called for the recount to be resumed, saying that conducting a sound election is more important than being returned to parliament.

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See also:

01 Mar 00 | Middle East
Recount ordered of Tehran votes
26 Feb 00 | Media reports
Iranian media reviews election results
23 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iran's unique election
26 Feb 00 | Middle East
Rafsanjani scrapes in
21 Feb 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Obstacles to change
22 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iran vote welcomed
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