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Iran condemns EU accusations over parliamentary election
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09:17, March 18, 2008

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Iran on Monday strongly condemned the European Union (EU)'s latest "unfair" accusations over the parliamentary election in the Islamic Republic, state media reported.

While the final and official results of the election were not released yet by Iranian officials, it is surprising that the EU rotating presidency managed to assess the election and release a statement about it, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini in a statement.

EU's Slovenian presidency overnight Saturday labelled the disqualification of candidates during the general elections a "grave violation" of international norms, saying that Iran's legislative election was "neither fair nor free."

"(The EU) expresses its deep regret and disappointment that over a third of prospective candidates were prevented from standing in this year's parliamentary elections," it said in a statement.

"Issuing of this statement by EU is hasty, it was politically motivated and is not acceptable," Hosseini was quoted as saying.

"The election was conducted in completely healthy and peaceful atmosphere with massive turnout of all Iranians and based on the country's Constitution and respective laws," he added.

"The EU should reconsider its unjust and unconstructive approach towards Iran," said the spokesman, noting that "Iranian people will never forget such interventionist measures."

Turnout of Friday's parliamentary elections was at over 65 percent, according to the interior ministry which was responsible for organizing the poll.

Iranian leaders have applauded the "big" turnout as a "crushing response" to Western countries during a time when Tehran was locked in an impasse with the latter over the controversial nuclear program.

However, according to previous Iranian official media reports, originally there were 7,600 candidates to run for the seats in the election, but about 1,700 were barred from running by the clerical Guardian Council because they were not "loyal" enough to the Islam and revolution.

Iranian reformists parties and some Western media have said most of the barred were reformist candidates, accusing Tehran of trying to keep a conservative grip in the new parliament. But the clerical Guardian Council insists that it acts without bias.

According to the latest partial counting result, the conservatives have won an absolute majority in the upcoming new parliament with at least 163 seats out of a total of 290.

Source:Xinhua



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