June 9, 2021
Tehran Police Chief Responds to Debates
Hossein Rahimi, commander of the Greater Tehran police, criticised candidates for statements they made in the second debate regarding the Guidance Patrol, a morality police who enforce the hijab in public. Rahimi said “it is not possible to play with the Islamic and moral values of the society”, and these issues should not be exploited to collect votes. During the debate, Ebrahim Raisi promised to create a Guidance Patrol to police economic managers, and both Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh and Ali-Reza Zakani weighed into a discussion about the enforcement of hijab in public.
June 1, 2021
Guardian Council Implies Hemmati Could Be Disqualified
Following remarks made by Abdol-Naser Hemmati on air in which he criticised the harassment of women for not observing proper hijab, Ahmad Khatami, a senior clerical member of the Guardian Council said Hemmati’s comments went against Islamic rules on women and the veil in public places, and warned Hemmati that he should be careful since adherence to Islam is legally necessary for candidates in elections. Several commentators interpreted this as a threat that Hemmati, who is shaping up as the main challenger to front-runner Ebrahim Raisi, may be disqualified before election day. These commentators linked Ahmad Khatami’s comments to a statement on May 7 by another Guardian Council member, Hadi Tahan Nazif, that candidates can be disqualified during the campaign period if it is determined by the Guardian Council that they are no longer eligible. For his part, Hemmati said that he will not censor himself, even if it risks his disqualification, and he is merely reflecting the views of the majority of the people.
Read Ahmad Khatami’s comments at Didbaniran
Read Hemmati’s response at ILNA
May 4, 2021
Ardabil Imam Criticises Candidates Comments on Hijab
The Friday Imam and representative of the Supreme Leader in Ardabil criticised candidates who say that the hijab is not mandatory. The Prayer leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Hasan Ameli, made the comments at a gathering for Qadr night, one of the holiest nights of Ramadan, and the anniversary of the assassination of the First Imam of Shi’ism, Ali. Ayatollah Ameli’s comments were most likely allusions to candidates such as Ali Motahari and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who have made controversial statements regarding the hijab laws of Iran.
April 24, 2021
Motahari: Hijab is Optional but 80% Accept It
Ali Motahari said that the hijab is optional in Iran, but 80% of Iranians support it. He added that the 20% who do not should not be interfered with. Motahari’s comments are in the context of a recent Clubhouse appearance where he compared non-veiling to nudity and made some racist and misogynistic comments regarding male attention to women. Motahari’s statement that the hijab is optional do not correspond with Iranian law.
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.
March 28, 2021
TV and Film Actress Azadeh Namdari Found Dead
Controversial television personality Azadeh Namdari was found dead in her home in Saadatabad, Tehran. Namdari had been banned from Iranian screens following her appearance abroad without hijab. Potential candidate Ayatollah Seyyed Hassan Khomeini shared her image on Instagram with the words “Rest in Peace”.