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Iran’s hardliners accuse BBC of meddling in upcoming poll 

Iran’s hardliners are trying to rally support ahead of elections on Friday by alleging that their reformist opponents are being supported by shadowy foreign groups — including the UK’s BBC.“It is not an allegation. It is a crime [reformists have committed],” Parviz Soruri, a senior hardline politician, told the Financial Times. “The BBC [Persian Service] very clearly has supported the electoral list of reformists. This will mar Iran’s political independence and can lead to the presence of alien forces. The British move is interference in our internal affairs.

Iranians go to the polls on Friday to choose 290 seats for the parliament as well as 88 senior clerics for the Experts Assembly that may determine Iran’s next supreme leader.But thanks to the mass disqualification of reformists from the race by regime figures in the Guardian Council, the body that vets the candidates’ Islamic and political credentials, the competition in many constituencies is only between hardline candidates.In the capital, however, the race is more open and there is fierce rivalry for 30 parliamentary seats and 16 seats on the Experts Assembly between pro-reform forces, who are close to centrist president Hassan Rouhani, and hardliners, who insist they are unconditional supporters of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The allegations of links to the UK mark a change from the usual target of Iranian revolutionary ire; for decades the country’s hardline politicians have described the US as the Great Satan. But ironically Iran remains one of the few Middle Eastern countries where the public favours good relations with Washington. Britain, on the other hand, is viewed with mistrust. Many Iranians call Britain an “old fox” which has stabbed Iran in the back in its contemporary history

Source: Iran’s hardliners accuse BBC of meddling in upcoming poll – FT.com

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