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Iran Approves More Than 3,000 to Run in March Parliamentary Race

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Iran approved 3,444 candidates, or about 70 percent of those who registered, to run in next month’s parliamentary elections, the first time Iranians will vote since the disputed contest in 2009 that led to days of mass protests.

The Guardian Council, which supervises the vote, “has approved any would-be-candidates whose situation was in line with the law,” Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, a spokesman for the council said today, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. Candidates will be able to begin campaigning on Feb. 23, IRNA said.

The re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in June 2009 led to allegations of fraud that brought millions onto the streets in protest and prompted a violent crackdown by security forces. This year’s vote will pit backers of Ahmadinejad against his opponents, some of whom accuse the president of questioning the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The elections take place with Iran under increasing pressure from international sanctions over its nuclear program. The punitive measures have contributed to a drop in the value of Iran’s national currency, the rial, and an increase in the price of consumer goods.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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