Iran bars thousands from contesting elections

Iranians walk through a taxi stop off a main square in the Islamic republic's capital Tehran on January 11, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

Iran bars thousands from contesting elections

  • The reformist newspaper Etemad said on Tuesday that most of those rejected were reformist and moderate candidates

TEHRAN: Iran’s constitutional watchdog has barred thousands of people from running in next month’s parliamentary elections, including 90 current lawmakers, most of whom are accused of corruption.
The Guardian Council, a body of senior clerics and legal experts, vets candidates for office as well as legislation, and rules out individuals if it believes their views or behavior are incompatible with the theocratic system. Half its members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A spokesman for the Guardian Council was quoted by the hard-line Kayhan paper as saying most of the lawmakers were rejected for “financial problems,” a reference to fraud and embezzlement. The spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, said more than 14,000 people registered to run in December. Of those, just 5,000 qualified, he said. Of the 290 current members of Parliament, 247 registered to run for re-election. Those rejected can appeal the decision in the coming days.
The reformist newspaper Etemad said on Tuesday that most of those rejected were reformist and moderate candidates. It said that as a result the elections will essentially be an “internal vote” among hard-liners. Hard-liners were also disqualified, but it’s not clear how many.
The elections will test the popularity of the pro-reform bloc led by President Hassan Rouhani.
They have championed improved ties with the West and expanded social freedoms, but have suffered major setbacks since President Donald Trump assumed office.
Iran regularly holds presidential and parliamentary elections, but they are closely supervised by the clerical establishment, and the supreme leader has the final say on all major policies.


Dubai airport hands out roses to Beirut passengers in a show of support

Updated 09 August 2020

Dubai airport hands out roses to Beirut passengers in a show of support

  • Passengers arriving from Beirut in Dubai were handed white roses
  • “Rebuilding Lebanon is like rebuilding UAE,” a message attached to the roses read

DUBAI: Passengers arriving from Beirut in Dubai were handed white roses on Sunday in a heartfelt gesture of support following last week’s deadly blast. 
The 163 passengers boarding an Emirates airline flight who arrived at Dubai International Airport were gifted the roses from Dubai Customs workers. The flowers came with a message that quoted the founder of the UAE, the late President Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan.
The message reads: “Rebuilding Lebanon is like rebuilding UAE.”
Dubai Airport CEO Paul Griffiths said the act reflects the “spirit of kindness at the heart of the aviation community.”  
“I’m sure it has provided some measure of comfort for the Lebanese passengers during these very difficult times,” he said.
Like many other countries, the UAE has sent large shipments of aid to Lebanon since the explosion. 
The massive blasts at the Beirut port killed 158 people and injured 6,000.