Voting takes place in Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday (14 March) but even before the new Parliament is elected the candidates know it will be faced with one of the world's thorniest problems of the day -- the hostage crisis at the United States embassy in Teheran.
SV PAN Election posters on wall with supporters handing out leaflets to passers-by
SV & CU Women standing at roadside holding election photographs of candidates and posters (3 shots)
CU & SV PAN Posters on walls and women walking with placards (3 shots)
SV PAN & CU Candidates for President Bani-Sadr seated in mosque listening to speaker (5 shots)
GV PAN Mass rally of Fedayeen supporters being addressed by speaker on rostrum
CU Supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini in scuffle and being ejected from rally
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Background: Voting takes place in Iran's parliamentary elections on Friday (14 March) but even before the new Parliament is elected the candidates know it will be faced with one of the world's thorniest problems of the day -- the hostage crisis at the United States embassy in Teheran. The 270 deputies elected will have the task of setting the terms for the release of the 49 Americans held at the Embassy. It has been occupied since November by radical Moslem students demanding the extradition of the Shah.
SYNOPSIS: Some political posters were seen in the streets of Teheran on Monday (10 March) although they were officially forbidden and no television campaign broadcasts were allowed. All of Iran's political groups are allowed to field candidates in the election but, according to local observers, the poll looks like being a contest between the pro-clergy Islamic Republic Party (I.R.P.) and the supporters of President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr.
President Bani-Sadr has said he is prepared to agree to the release of the American hostages if America admit to past interference in Iran's affairs. While the I.R.P. has said it backs the students' demand for the Shah's return, Bani-Sadr's followers appear ready to settle for less.
The Fedayeen supporters, together with the Mujaheddin Khalq, represent Iran's most prominent left-wing groups, both of which enjoy a lot of support among young people and in the ethnic minority areas. The left-wing organisations are contesting elections for the first time since the 1953 coup which restored the Shah to power.
But the Fedayeen and the Mujaheddin claim there is a concerted attempt to undermine their election chances as their rallies have been repeatedly attacked by gangs of Moslem fundamentalists. But whatever the political make-up of the new parliament, religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini has said it must decide the fate of the American hostages.