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Reformist victories cancelled in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran, March 11, 2000 (BBC) Reports from Iran say that at least three results in last month's elections have been cancelled without explanation by the central election body, the Council of Guardians.

The reports, quoting the reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), said results were declared invalid in the southern cities of Bandar Abbas, Minab, and Gachsaran.

According to reports the IIPF has expressed concern that the Council Guardians, which is dominated by conservatives, would cancel other election results in the next few days.

Reruns and recounts

Reformist supporters of President Mohammad Khatami had scored a massive victory in last month's vote - winning 226 of the 290 seats in parliament after the first round of the elections.

A remaining 64 seats are due to be contested in a second round on 21 April.

The election results cancelled on Saturday by the Council Guardians are expected to be rerun on the same day.

A recount of votes cast for the 30 seats in the capital Tehran was held last week but the official results have not yet been announced.

Reformists initially won 29 of 30 seats, but a dispute arose as to whether former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was backed by conservatives and moderates, had just squeezed in to win the last seat.

The leader of the reformist minority in the outgoing parliament, Majid Ansari, condemned the cancellation of the results in the south of Iran as "arbitrary", according to the official news agency IRNA.

"Unfortunately this sort of decision shakes the confidence of the people in the authorities and the regime," he said. Mr Ansari said that the reformists would propose a bill requiring any cancellation of results to be justified in writing.