February elections in Iran to be open, free - president

Tehran - Parliamentary elections set for February in Iran will be free and open to all, promised President Hassan Rowhani on Sunday.

"I will personally ensure that the elections are run in a free and healthy manner," said Rowhani, making a reference to past elections which opposition members have called "unhealthy" for Iran.

He said would also make sure that all parties are able to participate in the vote, so long as they show respect for the law.

"Some will like this, some will not," he said in a statement posted on the presidency's website.

The comments are prompted by continuing allegations that the country's 2009 elections were stolen, leading to the re-election of then incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That prompted nationwide protests and the arrest of thousands of dissidents.

Rowhani himself received a rare dose of criticism Saturday as he was reminded during a press conference about the continued incarceration of Mir Hussein Mussawi and Mehdi Karrubi, two opposition leaders who remain under house arrest for their role in the protests.

Rowhani had made releasing them one of the planks of his successful 2013 run for office.

Set for February 26, the elections could give Rowhani's reformers a chance to take the parliament, giving Iran its first presidency and legislature dominated by reformers for years.

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