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Friday, 7 April, 2000, 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK
Iranians riot after vote annulled
Crowd after the election
Reformists scored a huge victory in February
Thousands of people have rioted in a north-western Iranian town after a conservative-led election body disqualified a reformist as the local member of parliament.

The Iranian news agency IRNA said police restored order in Khalkhal, 500km (310 miles) north-west of Tehran, on Friday after demonstrators stoned government buildings from late on Thursday.

They were protesting at a decision by Council of Guardians to annul the election of Mostafa Khanzadi.

The council cancelled results from 21 polling stations in the town, awarding the seat to the runner-up, Keykavous Khaknezhad, a known supporter of hard-liners.

Residents told news agencies that the protesters had damaged at least 10 buses and smashed windows throughout the town.

New parliament

It was not clear on what grounds Mr Khanzadi had been disqualified.


President Khatami
Reformists want to free up strict Islamic laws
Correspondents say he is the sixth reformist backer of President Mohammed Khatami to have had his election overturned.

Last month a gunman seriously wounded a leading reformist figure in an assassination attempt.

President Khatami's supporters won an overwhelming majority in the February elections, gaining control of parliament for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

They want to reform the strict Islamic rules that govern the day-to-day lives of Iranians.

The council, the top election supervisory body, has recently confirmed the results that were made public last month.

The new parliament is scheduled to convene in June.

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See also:

11 Mar 00 | Middle East
Reformist victories cancelled in Iran
21 Feb 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Obstacles to change
06 Apr 00 | Middle East
Row over reformist's shooting
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