TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran has allowed a grandson of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and other reformists to stand in parliamentary elections after initially disqualifying them, reports said on Wednesday.
Ali Eshraghi was one of more than 2,200 mainly reformist candidates disqualified in the initial phase of vetting to the dismay of moderates but has now been reinstated by the hardline Guardians’ Council.
The Guardians’ Council, Iran’s main vetting body, announced on Tuesday that 280 of the candidates disqualified in the original vetting were being reinstated to stand in the March 14 elections.
Iranian newspapers and news agencies carried the names of the reinstated candidates on Wednesday and all said that Eshraghi was now being allowed to stand.
The official IRNA news agency said five sitting reformist MPs who had initially been disqualified were now being allowed to stand.
Two leading loyalists of reformist former president Mohammad Khatami — the former head of IRNA Abdollah Nasseri and ex-education minister Morteza Haji — were also being reinstated, the Mehr news agency reported.
The reinstatement of the candidates came after prominent conservative and reformist figures complained bitterly about the scale of the disqualifications, which Khatami described as a “catastrophe”.
The mass disqualifications were also criticised by another grandson of Khomeini, Hassan, who is in charge of the late revolutionary leader’s mausoleum and is a top figure in the Islamic republic despite having no official position.
Hassan Khomeini, who makes comments in public extremely rarely, lamented the “blade that decapitated” so many candidates.
Reformists had been hoping to challenge conservative dominance of parliament in the elections but after the initial disqualifications said they could only be competitive in 10 percent of seats.
Iran’s former top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, a conservative, also welcomed the reinstatements. “Correcting some of the mistakes is effective in helping the election atmosphere,” he told the ISNA student news agency.