May 30, 2021
Mohammad-Javad Larijani: Ahmadinejad is Like a Baha’i
Mohammad-Javad Larijani, senior advisor to Supreme Leader on foreign affairs, gave an interview in which he mostly defended his brothers, disqualified candidate Ali Larijani and Guardian Council member Amoli Larijani. However, he also commented on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s messianic Shi’a beliefs, saying they were deviant like Baha’ism. Larijani’s comments are serious as the Baha’i religion is illegal in Iran and its followers are regularly subject to discrimination, harassment and arrest.
May 27, 2021
Khamenei Backs Guardian Council
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an address to members of the Majles, backed the Guardian Council’s decision making in determining the electoral list, thanking candidates for nominating, especially those who did not complain when they were disqualified. Khamenei also issued a stern warning to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying that those who were once leaders of the country should not restyle themselves as a kind of opposition, adding that those who do will be held accountable.
May 26, 2021
Ahmadinejad demands Reasons for Disqualification
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed his disqualification by the Guardian Council in a video message, telling the Council, “I I want you to publicly announce, on television and with me present, the reason for my disqualification with evidence”.
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 21, 2021
Fereydoun Abbasi on Raisi and Ahmadinejad
Conservative technocrat candidate, Fereydoun Abbasi, a nuclear scientist who was the target of an assassination attempt in 2010, made a number of telling remarks about the motivations of rival candidates in this election. Abbasi rhetorically asked why certain senior Principalists were always moving between senior roles rather than staying in one position and doing a better job in that one role. Abbasi was making reference to Raisi’s move from the head of the Imam Reza Foundation to the Chief Justice role to becoming a presidential candidate, all within the past five years. Abbasi added that Ahmadinejad has all the necessary qualifications and experience, so he wouldn’t see a problem if the Guardian Council approved his candidacy.
May 17, 2021
Candidates launch slogans
Although approved candidates will not be announced until May 27, a number have already started circulating posters and promoting slogans. Ebrahim Raisi has styled his campaign as “a people’s government for a strong Iran”, appealing to his credentials as strong conservative with popular appeal. Ali Larijani has gone on the attack with “Neither the key nor the hammer”, which refers to the legal (key) candidates like Raisi, and military (hammer) candidates like Saeed Mohammad. Eshaq Jahangiri has gone for the more description “government of the nation to open the lives of the people and the development of Iran”, while Saeed Jalili has kept it simple with “real work not rhetoric”. Among the more creative slogans are Ezzatollah Zarghami’s “I am not Rouhani”, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “either I qualify or boycott the election”.
May 13, 2021
Ahmadinejad On the Campaign Trail
Former President and polarising candidate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit the campaign trail today, just one day after registering for the election in controversial circumstances. He travelled to Khunj in Fars Province, a town mostly populated by the Lari-speaking minority who are mostly Sunni Muslims. Ahmadinejad was offered a sheep as a sacrifice for Eid al-Fitr by a local imam, which the former President insisted be spared and sold to him.
May 12, 2021
Ahmadinejad Registers Provocatively
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered for candidacy today alongside 100 supporters in a chaotic performance. Ahmadinejad first met his supporters in Narmak 72 Square near his house, where they begged him to register, a request to which Ahmadinejad finally theatrically accepted. From there, he walked with his supporters to the Election Headquarters in Fatemi Street, where he engaged in more theatrics, including climbing a gate to wave to supporters. After registration, he fronted the media whose questions he refused to answer, and he instead read preprepared statements making threats if his candidacy was not approved. In the midst of the chaos, Ahmadinejad’s supporters, one of whom was carrying soil from the graves of protesters killed in the 2019 demonstrations, tried to accompany their candidate inside, only to be stopped by Ministry of Interior officials who traded punches with the crowd. It is unlikely that the Guardian Council will approve Ahmadinejad as a candidate.
May 12, 2021
Second Day of Registrations
The second day of registrations took place with more theatre as supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused disruptions at Election Headquarters, while supporters of Minister for Communications Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi gathered in front of the building, calling on their candidate to register in defiance of the Guardian Council. Among those registering today were former Ahmadinejad era cabinet members Mohammad Abbasi, Mohammad Jahromi, Sadegh Khalilian and Mohammad-Sharif Malekzadeh. Others included conservative deputy speaker of the Majles, Amin-Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi (who was accompanied by his daughter), moderate leader Qodrat-Ali Heshmatian, diplomat Mohammad-Hassan Qadiri Abyaneh, and eccentrically dressed hair salon owner Behrouz Vosoughi who has also registered in the last few elections.
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.