Iran's new parliament, dominated by reformists close to President Mohammad Khatami, was officially inaugurated on Saturday with the start of its first session.
Besides Khatami, all leading members of the government and diplomatic corps attended the event.
The new legislature, the sixth since the Islamic revolution in 1979, is dominated by reformists.
The opening session was to decide on the appointment of a parliamentary speaker, with Ali Sheikh, 70, the representative for the south-western town of Shoushtar, as the strong favorite.
The conservative-dominated Council of Guardians validated the election results for 28 of the 30 seats being contested in Tehran, including that of Rafsanjani, three months after the first round of the elections.
Of those 28, 26 seats were taken by reformist supporters of President Khatami, with the other two going to conservatives Rafsanjani, and Gholamali Hadad-Adel, a university professor.
With the quorum of two thirds of the 290 members of parliament comfortably assured, the new parliament assembled with 246 seats allocated.
Nine elections have been cancelled and by-elections will be organized soon -- TEHERAN (AFP)
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