Iran reformists, moderates unite ahead of vote

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Iranian reformists seeking greater democratic change and moderates supporting President Hassan Rouhani's outreach to the West have formed an alliance to increase their chances ahead of Feb. 26 parliamentary elections.

Prominent reformist Mohammad Reza Aref, a former vice president and a candidate in the upcoming vote, says his supporters and Rouhani allies have agreed to release a joint list of candidates in order to more effectively challenge hard-liners and conservatives, who remain split.

Some 6,200 candidates - including 586 women - have been approved to run for Iran's 290-seat parliament. Over 12,000 hopefuls had initially registered for the election.

The vote will largely be a referendum on Rouhani following last summer's landmark nuclear deal, which curbed Iran's atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.