Iran’s President Seeks More Free and Fair Elections

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. Rouhani said Saturday he opposed a parliamentary vote on the landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers, saying terms of the agreement will turn into legal obligation if it is passed by the house. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran’s president is lobbying for more free and fair elections in Iran, saying moderate and reformist political factions should also be allowed to run in next month’s parliamentary elections.

Hassan Rouhani’s speech on Thursday is a stab at Iran’s constitutional watchdog, which has disqualified large numbers of moderates and reformists from running.

Rouhani says that “the parliament is the house of the people, not a particular faction.”

He said that while religious and other minorities — such as Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, whose combined population in Iran numbers less than 500,000 — each have four members in parliament, larger groups should also be represented.

Rouhani asked, “What about a faction that has up to 10 million supporters?”— a reference to the estimated number of supporters of moderates and reformists.