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Iranian Reformists Accuse Ayatollah of Rigging Vote

From Associated Press

In a daring protest Tuesday, more than 100 reformist lawmakers accused Iran’s supreme leader of allowing freedoms to be trampled and of rigging upcoming parliament elections in favor of Islamic hard-liners.

The attack -- in a letter sent to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- raised political dissent to levels unimaginable just a few weeks ago and shattered taboos about public criticism of Iran’s political and spiritual authority.

“The popular revolution brought freedom and independence for the country in the name of Islam. But now you lead a system in which legitimate freedoms and the rights of the people are being trampled in the name of Islam,” the legislators said in the letter, made public Tuesday -- a day after it was sent to Khamenei.

The country’s Guardian Council, appointed by Khamenei, has disqualified more than 2,400 pro-reform candidates from parliamentary elections scheduled for Friday.

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Hard-line candidates are expected to retake control of the 290-seat parliament from reformists. There was no immediate reaction from Khamenei or other top members of the non-elected clerical leadership.


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