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Iran bans three reformist parties from participating in upcoming polls

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Iran’s election office has banned three reformist parties from taking part in the upcoming legislative polls. for lacking the required licenses to run for parliament.

The Islamic Participation Front, Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organization and Freedom Movement of Iran allegedly do not have the licenses required to run for parliament.

“As the interior ministry sees these three parties as dissolved and their licenses withdrawn, they will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections,” said the head of the election office Soulat Mortazavi.

According to the election law only political parties with licenses are allowed to run in the March 2012 polls, he said.

An Iranian court had banned the Islamic Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organizationafter they protested the controversial results of the 2009 presidential elections.

Before the court had issued its ruling against the parties, many of their leaders had been detained or imprisoned.

The Islamic Participation Front was established after the 1997 presidential elections won by reformist leader Muhammad Khatami.

The Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organization was established 1982 but suspended activities after 37 leftist members broke away from it. The party returned to the political scene in October 1990 when prominent Iranian politicians joined its ranks.

The Freedom Movement of Iran was founded in 1961. One of its prominent leaders, Ibrahim Yazdi, was the first Iranian foreign minister after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Moussa Sharifi, a writer and political analyst of Iranian affairs, said that Iran does not have a political spectrum with diverse political parties. He said that prominent opposition parties have been banned since 1980s, such as the leftist Tudeh Party of Iran, the nationalist National Front and the People's Mujahedin of Iran.

Sharifi, added that the regime in Tehran reportedly executed 120,000 political dissidents. Only three opposition political parties that recognized the constitution in 1980s were allowed to operate: the Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organization, the Freedom Movement of Iran, and the Islamic Participation Front.

In 2009, after President Mahmoud Ahmedinjad came to power in heavily contested elections, banned groups joined the opposition reformist groups.

Most candidates from opposition reformist groups and their affiliated parties were banned by the Guardian Council of the Constitution. This resulted in parties of the left in the Islamic Republic actually being removed from power by a non-democratic method. Therefore from 1991, immediately after the fourth parliamentary election, they stopped their activities for a period of five years.

The Iranian Council of Guardians is in charge of interpreting the Constitution of Iran, supervising elections of, and approving of election candidates. In the 2009 president elections, 143 people applied for candidacy but only three were accepted, Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

(This article was translated from Arabic by Mustapha Ajbaili. Ikram Al Yacoub contributed to this report)