Iran Hard-Liners Reassert Influence on Election Slate
Reformists say most of their candidates have been disqualified from running next monthBy Aresu Eqbali in Tehran and Asa Fitch in Dubai, WSJ
Updated Jan. 19, 2016 7:31 p.m. ET
Days after Iran secured relief from economic sanctions under a contentious nuclear deal, the country’s powerful hard-liners are moving to sideline more moderate leaders who stand to gain from a historic opening with the West.
Almost two-thirds of the 12,000 candidates who applied to run in next month’s parliamentary elections were either disqualified by Iran’s Guardian Council or withdrew.
The 12-member council vets political candidates and all legislation passed by parliament. It is made up of six judges elected by parliament and six clerics appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on virtually all important state matters.
The political leanings of the disqualified candidates weren’t fully disclosed; political alignments are less rigidly defined than in many Western systems, and candidates can be endorsed by more than one party.
But so-called reformists—those favoring more political and economic freedom and improved relations with the outside world—say their camp was overwhelmingly targeted, with one saying barely 1% had been approved.