Candidate Registrations for Iran’s Parliamentary Elections Hit Record High 

Iranian lawmakers talk during a parliament session in Tehran, Iran August 13, 2023. ISNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Iranian lawmakers talk during a parliament session in Tehran, Iran August 13, 2023. ISNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
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Candidate Registrations for Iran’s Parliamentary Elections Hit Record High 

Iranian lawmakers talk during a parliament session in Tehran, Iran August 13, 2023. ISNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
Iranian lawmakers talk during a parliament session in Tehran, Iran August 13, 2023. ISNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

A record number of people registered to become candidates in Iran's parliamentary elections scheduled for March, the Interior Ministry said Monday.

The elections will be the first since nationwide protests rocked the country last year.

Nearly 49,000 people filed paperwork seeking to run as candidates during a one-week registration period that ended on Sunday, the ministry website said.

That number is more than three times the 16,000 registrations filed in the last election in 2020, when voter turnout was its lowest since 1979, with just over 42% of eligible voters casting ballots.

There were no details on the registration of prominent political figures or pro-reform groups. The increase in filings was seen as a result of an easy online registration process.

Some 14% of submissions were from women, an increase from 12% in 2020. About 250 current members of the 290-seat parliament also registered.

Authorities in the coming weeks will verify the documents filed by would-be candidates. The monthslong vetting process will conclude in late October when verified hopefuls will be allowed to apply for candidacy. Each candidate must be approved by the Guardian Council, a 12-member clerical body, half of whom are directly appointed by the supreme leader.



Harris Condemns Flag Burning, Hamas Graffiti at Protest in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
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Harris Condemns Flag Burning, Hamas Graffiti at Protest in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)

US Vice President Kamala Harris joined Democratic and Republican leaders in condemning protesters who burned American flags and sprayed pro-Hamas graffiti outside Washington's Union Station on Wednesday, describing the acts as unpatriotic and abhorrent.

The protests coincided with a speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Before he spoke, protesters marched near the US Capitol building, condemning US military aid to Israel during its war with Hamas militants in Gaza.

Following Netanyahu's speech, some of the demonstrators gathered in front of Union Station. They hoisted American flags outside the iconic train station, burned American ones and spray painted the words "Hamas is coming" and "Free Gaza" on a large monument.

Harris, the Democrats' presidential candidate, said in a statement on Thursday that she condemns any individuals associating with Hamas.

"I condemn the burning of the American flag. That flag is a symbol of our highest ideals as a nation and represents the promise of America. It should never be desecrated in that way," Harris said.

Harris and Biden were due to hold separate meetings with Netanyahu later on Thursday. More protests were planned for outside the White House.

During the protest on Wednesday, before some of the protesters converged near Union Station, police used pepper spray on some of the thousands of demonstrators present and made some arrests.

The flag burning and graffiti outside Union Station drew strong criticism from Republican US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson and Hakeem Jeffries, the chamber's Democratic leader.