Some 7,200 Iranian hopefuls register for key parliamentary elections

Some 7,200 people have registered as prospective candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections that are widely seen as a referendum on rule of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The elections will not change the direction of Iran's controversial nuclear policies, which are increasingly in the international spotlight and determined by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but they will be a key test of Ahmadinejad's hold on power and a harbinger for the 2009 presidential elections. Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said a total of 7,200 people, including 590 women, registered for the elections, which will be held March 14. Registration of hopefuls began Saturday and ended Friday midnight.