[QODLink]
Middle East

Iran asks the West to keep out of elections

Iran accuses US and France of "interference" for criticising it for barring hundreds of candidates in presidential poll.

Last Modified: 26 May 2013 13:18
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Former president Hashemi Rafsanjani was disqualified from running in presidential polls last week [AFP]

Iran has accused the US and France of "interference" for criticising it for barring hundreds of would-be candidates in next month's presidential election.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday that Tehran was "highly sensitive" about comments targeting its internal affairs, while his spokesman Abbas Araqchi said: "Elections in Iran are free and transparent. They are held based on the country's laws and regulations."

Their comments came after the news on Tuesday that the Guardians Council, Iran's unelected electoral watchdog, had cleared just eight male candidates out of 868 registrants to stand in the June 14 election.

Two key figures - moderate former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie - were among those disqualified.

French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot on Wednesday urged Iran to allow its people to "freely choose" their leaders.

'Vague criteria'

Araqchi advised Paris against "interference in the internal affairs of others and instead focus on their own domestic problems". He did not elaborate.

Spotlight
Follow in-depth coverage of Iran's presidential poll

US Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the Islamic republic on Friday for disqualifying would-be candidates.

"I cannot think of anyone in the world... who would not be amazed by a process in which an unelected Guardian Council, which is unaccountable to the Iranian people, has disqualified... hundreds of potential candidates according to vague criteria," Kerry said.

"The lack of transparency makes it highly unlikely that that slate of candidates is either going to represent the broad will of the Iranian people or represent a change."

Salehi warned US officials against making "unjustified" comments.

"The best advice to American officials is for them to get their information from reliable sources and specialised advisers.

“They should also be aware of the repercussions of such unjustified comments," he said.

The June 14 poll is the first since 2009, when allegations of fraud sparked street protests against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The election comes with Iran at loggerheads with world powers over its nuclear ambitions and struggling to cope with harsh economic sanctions targeting its vital oil income.

359

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list