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Iran interior ministry rejects 400 candidates for MP elections

TEHRAN, Iran, December 29, 1999 (AFP) - Iran's interior ministry has rejected some 400 candidates hoping to stand in February's key parliamentary elections, the press reported here Wednesday.

Pro-reform papers said leading reformist Abdollah Nuri, who was jailed five years for spreading anti-Islamic propaganda last month, would still be allowed to run. The report could not be immediately confirmed.

The press said 401 out of the 6,860 who had signed up to stand in the elections, in which reformers are hoping to end the conservative majority in parliament, had been ruled out by the ministry. Those rejected have four days to appeal the ruling.

Those approved must still get the green light from the conservative-led Council of Guardians, which rules on the adherence of candidates to the principles of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

In past elections the council has ruled out thousands of hopefuls, many of them moderates and reformers.

A final list of approved candidates is due to be published on February 9, just days ahead of the February 18 polls.