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Sunday, 7 May, 2000, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Iran's Guardians allege poll fraud
Tehran street
Tehran residents catch up on Saturday's election results
Iran's Council of Guardians says that there was significant fraud in February's parliamentary elections in Tehran.

The conservative body must approve all election results before they are valid.


The conservatives shoot arrows into the air that just fall back down on themselves

Ataollah Mohajerani
The announcement comes a day after reformists won more than three-quarters of seats contested in a second round of voting for the new parliament, which is due to convene on 27 May.

Reformists allied to President Mohammad Khatami are locked in a political battle with the conservative old guard, who closed most of the pro-reform press last month.

The Council of Guardians said that at 505 of 577 polling stations reviewed, fraud affected at least 10% of the votes - the figure at which the council had earlier hinted the results of the election in the capital would be cancelled.

The Council has been carrying out an unprecedented third recount of ballots in Tehran.

Mohammad-Reza Khatami, the president's brother who leads the Islamic Iran Participation Front, said on Saturday that he believed the Council would "act within the framework of the law" and validate the results.

President Mohamad Khatami
President Khatami has tried to overcome hardline resistance

"Our differences with the Council of Guardians notwithstanding, we trust them completely," he said.

In Saturday's second round, reformists won 46 of the 66 seats contested, with conservatives winning 10 and the remainder going to independents.

Mr Khatami, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, called the results "a clear message to all those people who in the recent months have been resorting to illegal means and seemingly legal pretexts to defeat this promising movement".

Dinner rumours

Conservatives returned to the attack on Sunday with newspaper reports alleging a meeting between prominent supporters of President Khatami and a number of western diplomats.

Ataollah Mohajerani
Ataollah Mohajerani: Just a private dinner

Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani and former Tehran mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi were among those reported to have attended the dinner at a villa in a smart suburb of Tehran.

The newspapers said that the meeting was intended to rally foreign support for Ataollah Mohajerani's possible candidacy at the 2001 presidential elections.

But Ataollah Mohajerani brushed off the allegations.

"I had lunch with some longtime friends. It was a private affair that had no political overtones," he said.

"Neither the ambassador of France, nor of Germany, nor of Great Britain were there," he said.

"The conservatives shoot arrows into the air that just fall back down on themselves," he said.

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See also:

06 May 00 | Middle East
Iran reformists win second ballot
21 Feb 00 | Middle East
Analysis: Obstacles to change
28 Apr 00 | Middle East
Iranian president calls for calm
26 Apr 00 | Middle East
How far will Iran's conservatives go?
23 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iran's unique election
07 Apr 00 | Middle East
Iranians riot after vote annulled
11 Mar 00 | Middle East
Reformist victories cancelled in Iran
22 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iran vote welcomed
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