The European Union said Sunday that the Iranian parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair. It expressed "deep concern" that the vote fell below the international standards and did not allow for a truly competitive ballot. The EU said international norms were violated because Iranians were unable to choose freely from a full range of candidates with different political views. It regretted that more than a third of prospective candidates were prevented from standing in the elections. Allies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seized the largest share of parliament seats in the elections. The results preserved the lock conservatives have had on the parliament since 2004.