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DATE=2/15/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IRAN ELECTION OVERNIGHTER (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-259197 BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=TEHRAN CONTENT= VOICED AT: /// EDS: the official campaign period is due to end Thursday at 3:30 pm EST. This piece is designed to hold up until then /// INTRO: in Iran, campaigning for parliamentary election is entering its final day Wednesday, after which voters will observe a day of reflection before going casting their ballots on Friday. Correspondent Scott Bobb reports from Tehran that although the campaign has been short and subdued by most standards, there have been moments of excitement, particularly among young voters. TEXT: The overall tone of the campaign has been restrained. There has been no television publicity. Candidates have been restricted to posting small leaflets and handing out flyers in public places, and only a few large rallies have been allowed during the campaign, which has lasted one week. All candidates are running as independents, but many are affiliated with one or more of the two dozen political groups, some of which have become registered parties. These groups are advertising lists of the candidates they support to help voters choose from the large number of candidates whom they don't know. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke Tuesday at a mosque in Tehran and advised the people to send a devout person to the parliament to show support for the Islamic system. A good choice, he said, will disappoint America, arrogant powers and Zionist centers. The supreme leader is said to be among those supporting conservative religious candidates against reformists who advocate greater freedom in politics and society. President Mohammad Khatami, who is said to support the reformist group, has avoided public endorsement of any candidates and instead is urging people to vote in large numbers. But his brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, has become the standard bearer of the reformist group and says the movement toward reform is inevitable. A coalition led by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has adopted a centrist position, urging voters to avoid candidates who want too much change too quickly, as well as those who do not want any change. His backers held a rally Tuesday for several thousand young supporters at a basketball arena in north Tehran. The men sat on one side of the hall and the women, dressed in chadors, or black cloaks, sat on the other side. /// Act of chanting of women and men in Farsi fade under /// First the women chanted, "President Khatami is the hero," Then the men responded, "The hope of the young generation." Ayatollah Rafsanjani's daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, who is running for re-election to the parliament, told the young people to avoid a monopoly by politicians from the right or the left. /// Faezeh Hashemi Act in Farsi fade under /// Mrs. Hashemi said pluralism is the best course because freedom and security is what the nation needs. Conservative newspapers have severely criticized the exuberance at some of the rallies. One newspaper noted that men and women fraternized in one reformist meeting, while another protested that there was singing and clapping at another. Iranians who have followed the political evolution of the country since the heady days of the revolution say things have changed. The founder of the reformist Asr-e Azadegan newspaper, Hamidreza Jalei-Pour, says the economy is one of the main issues in this election, but political change is the main focus. /// Jalei-Pour Act /// Economically yes, there are some plans for future. But the priority of these subjects is focused on political reform, not economic reform. /// End Act /// Professor Jalei-Pour says Iranian politics have moved from a time of uncontested ideology to a time of political competition and party-building. And he sees these elections as an important milestone in that evolution. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/JP 15-Feb-2000 20:45 PM EDT (16-Feb-2000 0145 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .