Iran reformist denounces "insults" of Khomeini kin



A top Iranian pro-reform cleric denounced on Tuesday "insults" directed at the family of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after a grandson of the late revolutionary leader was barred from running for parliament.

 

A hardline election watchdog has disqualified Ali Eshraghi, a grandson of the founder of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and a civil engineer, from standing in the March 14 election, an Iranian newspaper reported last week.

 

Another grandson of Khomeini, Hassan Khomeini, has been criticised by some conservatives for questioning whether the vetting process of election candidates was appropriate.

 

"We will not at all tolerate insults and slander towards the Imam's family," Mehdi Karoubi, a mid-ranking cleric and former speaker of parliament, told the ISNA news agency.

 

"And if this disrespect is repeated the children of the revolution and Imam's disciples will come up with a response to those who insult, to make them remorseful along with those who control them from behind the curtain," he said.

 

The vote for parliament, now dominated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's backers, will test the popularity of the hardline president who came to power vowing to share oil wealth more fairly, but who has failed to curb inflation.

 

Hopefuls have to go through a vetting process by government committees and the conservative-controlled Guardian Council, which has stopped hundreds of reformist candidates in the past.

 

Another Khomeini grandchild, Zahra Eshraghi, was barred from standing for parliament in 2004, when reformists were defeated.

 

That poll helped pave the way for Ahmadinejad's presidential win in the 2005 race, which Karoubi lost.

 

Pro-reform politicians say many of their number, including 30 lawmakers and three ex-ministers, have been banned from next month's parliament election. The final list of approved candidates will be announced on March 5.  (Reuters)

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