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DATE=5/30/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=IRAN / PARLIAMENT (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-262960 BYLINE=LISA BRYANT DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The new Iranian parliament has chosen Muslim cleric Mehdi Karroubi as its temporary speaker. Mr. Karroubi, a former hard-liner who is said to be close to President Mohammed Khatami, now holds the third most powerful position in Iran. From Cairo, Lisa Bryant reports. TEXT: Mr. Karroubi was the only candidate fielded by the moderate politicians who now dominate Iran's new 290-seat legislature. The mid-ranking cleric secured one hundred eighty six votes. Sixty-three lawmakers abstained from voting, and three others did not vote. The lawmakers also elected two deputies as vice- speakers of parliament. Both deputy speakers served in the last legislature, and both are from Tehran. Like Mr. Karroubi, their positions are also temporary. But reports from Iran say Mr. Karroubi is almost certain to become the permanent speaker of the country's new, reformist parliament when a final decision is made in June. It is a position that Mr. Karroubi has held before, several years after the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. In fact, Iran's new parliament speaker is a veteran politician who was once a leading revolutionary. Under Iran's former leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mr. Karroubi was appointed to several high-level government positions. Those included serving as the Imam's special representative for haj pilgrims -- or those Iranian Muslims wanting to make the religious journey to Saudi Arabia. But more recently, Mr. Karroubi has been associated with the moderate line of President Khatami. Local Iranian media reports that the choice of Mr. Karroubi and the vice speakers -- all lawmakers with established political and revolutionary credentials -- indicates the new parliament may be following a cautious political line, rather than that of more radical reformists. The top conservative choice for speaker -- former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani -- is out of the running. Mr. Rafsanjani resigned from the parliament last Thursday, amid speculation that voting had been rigged to elect him to the assembly. Iran's two top politicians -- President Khatami and spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- have both urged the new parliament to concentrate on improving the economy and righting injustices. Ayatollah Khamenei has also urged the new lawmakers to defend the spirit of the Iranian revolution. (SIGNED) NEB/LB/GE/KBK 30-May-2000 09:35 AM EDT (30-May-2000 1335 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .