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Iran Election 2021

Welcome to Iran Election 2021, your go-to information hub on the Thirteenth Presidential Election of the Islamic Republic of Iran, brought to you by the Middle East Studies Forum (MESF) at the Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University. The website features original news and analysis about the 2021 Iran election, presidential candidates, latest polls, and a podcast.


1 March
Formation of the Electoral Board
21 March
Nowruz/New Year
11 May
Nomination of Candidates begins
15 May
Last Day of Nomination of Candidates
26 May
Announcement of Candidates
28 May
Election Advertisement begins
4 June
Anniversary of Khomeini’s Death
16 June
Last Day of Election Advertising
17 June
Election Blackout begins
18 June
Election Day

News and Analysis

Iran Election 2021 Latest News
Ahmad Khatami Decries Virus of Indifference

Hardline conservative cleric Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Khatami told a gathering for Qadr night in Tabriz that reluctance to participate in the elections was a sinful virus of indifference being spread by the enemies of Iran and of Muslims. Khatami, who is no relation of the former President, compared lack of participation to COIVD, saying that “if the Corona virus spreads, it will ruin the world, while if the sin virus spreads, this world and the hereafter will be ruined”.

Read more on IRNA.

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.

Read more at Mehr

May 4, 2021
Shojaei Announces Candidacy

For Khatami advisor Zahra Shojaei today announced that she will nominate for the election, but that she expects she will stand down before election day in favour of a preferred Reformist candidate. Shojaei was one of two women endorsed by the Reform Front when they announced their official list on Sunday.

Read more on Tasnim

May 4, 2021
Zarif Responds to Khamenei’s Speech

Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif released a statement shortly after Khamenei’s speech went to air, in which he again reiterated his apology for his comments in the audio file, which he added were not meant for public dissemination but part of an oral history project. Zarif added that “the compassionate statements of the Supreme Leader are always the final word for me and my colleagues”. While rumours circulate about Zarif’s future – his resignation, dismissal or even possible impeachment – the Foreign Minister’s statement indicates his intention to keep working in his present role. It is unclear how it will affect any intentions he may have to run for President, especially since the Reform Front named him as their first preferred candidate just hours before Khamenei spoke. 

Read Zarif’s statement at Mehr

May 3, 2021
Khamenei Publicly Rebukes Zarif

In a public address to the nation, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly rebuked Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif over last week’s leaked audio file in which Zarif criticised former IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani, which he described as a “repetition of our enemy’s views”. Khamenei reiterated that Soleimani was “martyred” because he upset the plans of Iran’s enemies and added that “we should not talk in a way that makes our enemies happy”.  Khamenei finished with another stern rebuke, saying “everyone must know that foreign policy is not determined in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Iran or anywhere in the world.” 

Watch Khamenei’s address on his website

May 3, 2021
Two New Candidates Announce Campaigns

Two new candidates announced they are running for President. Former IRGC and Basij officer Ali-Reza Afshar became the latest military candidate; as the former head of Iran’s Election Headquarters, Afshar has insider knowledge of the workings of the electoral system. The second candidate, Sadegh Khalilian, became the latest Ahmadinejad Era cabinet member to nominate; Khalilian has put forward a conservative anti-corruption economic platform alongside a general repudiation of the current administration’s policies.

Read about Ali-Reza Afshar at FarsNews
Read about Sadegh Khalilian at ISNA

May 2, 2021