May 23, 2021
Ahmadinejad Appears on Clubhouse
Controversial candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared on Clubhouse twice today. His first appearance was a Q&A session where he fielded difficult questions about the 2009 election protests. However, in a characteristic move, he denied responsibility for the post-election crackdown on Reformists, adding that the famous murder of protestor Neda Agha Soleiman in the street, the video of which went viral, was an international conspiracy, and she was not murdered by forces loyal to him. In the second session, breaking with the conventions of Clubhouse, a pre-recorded video of Ahmadinejad discussing his economic plans was played with no questions allowed, leading to a backlash on social media.
May 22, 2021
Zarif May be Larijani’s Running Mate
When asked during his Clubhouse about a rumour that Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif may be his running mate, Ali Larijani responded that “anything is possible… I consider Zarif to be a very capable person, and he has performed very well in the nuclear negotiations”.
May 20, 2021
Larijani: I am neither Reformist nor Principalist
Ali Larijani, in his first Clubhouse appearance, said that he considered himself neither a Principalist nor a Reformist, but rather is close to the intellectual traditions of the early years of the Revolution, particularly Ayatollah Motahari and Ayatollah Beheshti. The Clubhouse session was attended by more than 3000 people, and well known journalists from the New York Times and the BBC were permitted to ask questions.
May 1, 2021
Jahangiri Appeal: Vote or Surrender your City
In a Clubhouse q-and-a, First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri encouraged all Iranians to vote (while being ambiguous about which election – Presidential or city council) saying “citizens know each other by the ballot box, and if they do not participate, the city may fall”. On the question of whether Jahangiri himself would run for President, he said “I never said I wouldn’t run, but I am a subordinate”, meaning that he cannot make the decision without the approval of more senior members of the government. The Clubhouse session was hosted by Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, who invited Jahangiri to Clubhouse, and attended by senior nuclear negotiator, Ali Akbar Salehi.
April 9, 2021
Disruptions to Clubhouse were not because of Filtering
Disruptions overnight to the Clubhouse app were not the result of filtering. According to the Minister of Communications and avid Clubhouse user, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the ministry had received information that Clubhouse had been disrupted on Iranian mobile phones, but added that this was not the result of filtering.
Read more on JahanNews
April 9, 2021
Motahari: I was taken out of context.
In his first remarks since his controversial appearance on Clubhouse on Wednesday, Ali Motahari stated that out of a nearly three hours discussion, only five minutes had been torn apart by the media. He added that “I will not be strict on the hijab if elected” contrary to what was being reported. He also took a swipe at Mohammad-Javad Zarif, saying that he was suited for the Foreign Ministry and “does not have the skin” to be President.
April 8, 2021
Motahari makes bizarre misogynistic and racist comments on Clubhouse
In an appearance on Clubhouse, candidate Ali Motahari commented on women’s rights, polygamy, veiling and sexuality. On the issue of hijab, Motahari stated “I do not see the hijab as a choice, and I do not believe in freedom for it [being a choice]. I do not consider being half-naked to be a human freedom, and I consider it an instinctive animal freedom.” On male sexuality, he added, “It is good that our youth are aroused by seeing the hand of a woman. Now in Europe, they [youth] have a problem with this issue, they are not aroused. Men are not aroused, and women turn to African men”. On the campaign trail, it is likely that Motahari, who often makes controversial remarks, set out to get attention through his comments.
April 3, 2021
Speculation that Clubhouse will be the Social Media of the Elections
The recent use of Clubhouse by Mohammad-Javad Zarif, and the migration of important political figures and influencers from Twitter and Instagram to the new social media platform has led to speculation that Clubhouse will play a key role in elections. The platform is currently popular among elites in Iran, but its “Rooms” function has the potential to be used as a substitute for rallies in times of COVID restrictions. Some media are speculating that it will have the influence of Twitter in the 2009 election, and Telegram in the 2017 election.