Reform candidate's car set ablaze as tensions rise before Iran vote

A reform candidate running for Iran's parliament saw his car set ablaze, his house attacked and his sister-in-law threatened with a knife on Wednesday, part of an apparent attempt to scare him out of politics, the ILNA news agency reported.

"This is so that you never again consider running against us," said the assailants, believed to be political hardliners, according to the ILNA report. They made the comments during the attack on Massud Namasi and his family in the city of Shabestar.

Images of Namasi's burnt-out car were carried on the ILNA website.

A candidate of President Hassan Rowhani's reformist faction, Namasi maintains a strong lead ahead of the top hardliner candidate, who is campaigning for re-election in Shabestar.

Candidates are running for 290 parliamentary seats in nationwide elections on Friday.

Buoyed by Rowhani's success in securing a nuclear deal with six world powers in July and a positive mood created by the lifting of economic sanctions, the president's reform movement has a chance at shattering the hardliners' 12-year political dominance in parliament.

During a Wednesday meeting with representatives of the civil aviation authority, Rowhani said the country was ready for a change.

"Iranians have decided to politically clear out the stables and modernize the country," Rowhani said.

Last update: Wed, 24/02/2016 - 17:45

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