GUARDIANS WOULD OBEY LEADER ORDERS, BUT ACCORDING TO LAWS
TEHRAN 23 Jan (IPS) Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the Secretary of the Council of the Guardians (CG) lashed out Friday at the United States and Europe for denouncing the disqualification of many candidates to the next Legislative elections, reminding them not to mistake the Islamic Republic with the toppled Shahís regime.
"They do not feel ashamed for interfering in the most domestic issues of a country. They think it is still the era of Shah when they could take whomever they desired into the Majles or the cabinet", he told worshippers during the traditional Friday prayers.
"That time is gone. They still have the wrong and old colonial thoughts and do not understand that there has been a religious and popular revolution in this country and people are supporting that revolution", he added, as the crowd was shouting "Death to America, Death to Britain, Death to Israel and Death to France".
The latest country was singled out because of a law that would prohibit school children, students and employees at public schools, universities or public places wearing visible signs showing their allegiance to a religion.
The law was proposed after a small number of young Muslim girls kept their veils at class or nurses at hospitals. Though approved by President Jacques Chirac, yet the proposal has stirred controversy, even among the ruling UMP party.
Condemning the US and the European Unionís comments on Iranís internal affairs, the Ayatollah who is close to the leader of the Islamic Republic, said such comments are "clear signs of interference in Iranís domestic developments".
"The Iranian people never let anyone interfere in Iranís internal affairs. Any interference is forbidden. If Iran has good ties with the EU that never means that they can interfere in our affairs," Jannati said, observing, "relations have their own place as do the regulations".
Turning to the political crisis the 12-members CG created after it disqualified a number of incumbent reformist lawmakers, Mr. Jannati said the Guardians "would not persist on possible mistakes in disqualifying candidates from the February Majles elections, adding however that they would neither "violate the law".
Describing as "useful" the recent meeting of President Mohammad Khatami and Majles Speaker Mehdi Karroubi with some members of the Council to find a solution to the crisis, Mr. Jannati observed that they had "realized in the meeting that the data they had received regarding the issue had not been accurate".
"The quality of checking the qualification of elections hopefuls from the very early stages in supervision committees to the last judgments in the GC are all calculated, legal and accurate", the official news agency IRNA quoted Mr. Jannati as informing the worshipers.
"Several cabinet ministers had also contacted the Council about the disqualifications, and after listening to our explanations, they had nothing to say regarding the disqualifications", he went on.
Noting that the directives of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i to the CG aimed at reviewing the disqualifications "must be carried out", Jannati said as a result, a number of rejected candidates had been allowed to run in the elections.
Mr. Khamenehíi, who has the last word on all state matters, has urged the council to review the bans and said that hundreds who had been allowed to run in previous elections should be allowed to stand again.
Among those barred from running are around 80 of the incumbent 290 MPs. They have been holding a sit-in at parliament for 13 days and fasting from dawn to dusk for the last week to protest against the mass disqualifications.
"The leader stresses that the qualification of elections hopefuls must not be stringent and the Guardians had always obeyed his directives", Mr. Jannati said, adding however that the CG will "strongly" carry out its constitutional duties "regardless to political considerations or factional bias".
But as he stopped short of citing names or giving the number of the reverses cases, sources said the Guardians had blessed some 1500 names they had previously rejected on charges of immorality, not adhering fully to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of believing in the system of velayat faqih, the corner stone of the present Iranian theocratic regime giving the leader almost divine powers.
Reformists accuse the Council of the Guardian that has powers of rejecting or approving all candidates to all elections and to check the conformity of laws passed by the parliament with Islamic laws using its rights to secure the control of the next Majles by the conservatives. ENDS JANNATI DISQUALIFICATIONS 23104