Iran reconvenes parliament under strict coronavirus curbs

Iran reconvenes parliament under strict coronavirus curbs - Reuters

Iran’s parliament reconvened on Wednesday after the Feb. 21 elections under strict health protocols and social distancing rules to ward off the coronavirus in one of the hardest-hit Middle Eastern countries.

Many lawmakers wore masks and their temperatures were taken before entering the parliament building in southern Tehran, Iranian media reported.

Iran’s hardline watchdog body, the Guardian Council, which must approve parliamentary candidates, disqualified thousands of moderates and leading conservatives and permitted voters a choice mostly between hardline and low-key conservative candidates loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to contest the elections.

Like hardliners, conservatives back the ruling theocracy, but unlike them support more engagement with the outside world.

Iran’s 290-seat parliament has no major influence on foreign affairs or Iran’s nuclear policy, which are determined by Khamenei. But it might bolster hardliners in the 2021 election for president and toughen Tehran’s foreign policy.

Next week, lawmakers will choose a parliament speaker for a one-year term.

source: reuters

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