Middle East

Iran may ban candidates who seek ties with US

Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, Iran's constitutional watchdog, delivers a sermon at Friday prayers, at Tehran University, in Tehran, Iran, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN: The head of Iran's constitutional watchdog says it may disqualify candidates in June presidential elections who seek full relations with the United States.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council that vets candidates, said Friday on state radio that some nominees may hope that international sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear program will end if the country restores relations with the U.S.

"Indeed, we should laugh at this comment," said Jannati. "If somebody has such a viewpoint, is it possible to approve him or to vote for him?"

The U.S. has had no diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979. No high-profile candidate has suggested full restoration. But one candidate backed by reformists, ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, suggested better relations are possible.

The final list of candidates will be announced Tuesday.





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