Iran’s Interior Ministry has banned at least 33 MPs from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The elections are due to be held in March and have been described as the most sensitive elections in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many opposition groups have called for a countrywide boycott of the elections in response to the ban.

Many reformist MPs are among those whose candidacies have not been approved even though they currently serve in the parliament.

Ali Motahari is a conservative MP, whose father Ayatollah Morteza Motahari is a key founder of the Islamic republic, is among those MPs that have been banned. However, he is also an outspoken critic of the government and was also the driving force behind plans to impeach President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year (MEED 22:6:11).

Some believe that the regime is encouraging its own candidates to register as reformists to avoid a potential boycott.