Elections Could Complement Nuclear Deal

Elections Could Complement Nuclear DealElections Could Complement Nuclear Deal

The forthcoming votes could mark the next step toward the promotion of national development after clinching the nuclear deal with world powers last year, Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said. Elections to the Assembly of Experts and parliament are due to run concurrently on Feb. 26.

The Guardians Council, a body of six clerics and six law experts tasked with vetting election candidates, judged as unqualified a large number of Rafsanjani's reformist allies among the unprecedented 12,000 registered parliamentary hopefuls.

The exclusion of many prominent reformist figures led them to forge an alliance with pro-government moderates, a move to consolidate the camp's position against rival conservatives in the field.

The coalition, titled the Alliance of Reformists and Government Supporters, agreed on a joint list of reformist and moderate candidates.

Rafsanjani, who was addressing supporters and members of the coalition, urged the public to go to the polls, despite the mass disqualifications, IRNA reported.

"While numerous competent people were excluded due to some reasons, moderates and government's backers have fielded 200 candidates for the Majlis and 60 hopefuls for the Assembly of Experts nationwide. All the people are duty bound to participate in the elections and cast their votes for those enlisted," the senior cleric said.

"The eminent people who have been disqualified should help less-known reformist candidates with their campaigns and promote them in the society to raise their chances of winning the votes."

  Merits of Nuclear Settlement

The July 14 nuclear accord, which was negotiated with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), went into effect on Jan. 16 to give Iran sanctions relief in return for temporary constraints on its nuclear program.

Rafsanjani noted that Iranian banks, cut off from SWIFT [Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications], have been reconnected to the network and the EU court has acquitted the sanctions-hit Bank Mellat.

The cutoff from the global transaction network occurred four years ago as part of the economic sanctions targeting the banking system among other key sectors.

Iran's reentry into the system will allow its banks to resume cross-border transactions with foreign banks. The system is used to transmit payments and letters of credit and Iran's exclusion damaged its ability to conduct foreign trade and money transfers.

In another development, the European Union's top court on Thursday effectively ruled that Bank Mellat's assets should not have been frozen from 2010 for alleged activities linked to Tehran's missile program.

It rejected an appeal brought by the bloc against a lower court ruling. This allows the bank to sue for damages.