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Election campaign not free and fair, rights group says

PARIS, France, February 11, 2000 (AFP) - The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) criticized on Friday the conditions under which Iran's legislative election campaign is taking place.

More than 600 candidates have been struck from ballots for the election to be held on February 18, according to an FIDH statement. The candidates were blocked from the campaign by conservative authorities charged with "verifying candidates' allegiance to Islamic principles," according to the statement.

"The conservatives thereby removed, under a veil of legality, a number of the main moderate candidates," the statement said.

Candidates are also required to profess their belief in the principle of "velayat-e-faghih," or the supremacy of religion over all state institutions, the FIDH said.