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June 15, 2021

Rezaei in Clubhouse Q&A

Mohsen Rezaei appeared on a Clubhouse Q&A session this evening to promote his campaign. Rezaei promised to resolve the JCPOA nuclear agreement immediately upon taking office and to sign the FATF once sanctions are lifted. Rezaei said he would improve the process for vetting presidential candidates by providing “specialised tools” to the Guardian Council and promised to better manage internet filtering but not eliminate it. Rezaei also promised to include Sunni Iranians in his cabinet. 

Listen to the Clubhouse session on YouTube

June 15, 2021

Zakani Accuses Azari Jahromi of Hypocrisy

Ali-Reza Zakani took aim at the Minister of Communications, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, criticising his stance on internet filtering. Zakani mocked Azari Jahromi for being a self-styled “Minister for Freedom” and called the Minister disingenuous for presenting himself as a progressive since he was responsible for the portfolio that enforced internet filtering. 

Read more at Mashregh

June 2, 2021

Rezaei’s Radio Program Not Aired

Mohsen Rezaei became the latest candidate to have a program not aired at the allocated time. Rezaei said that the radio requested he remove a section where members of the public express reluctance to vote. Rezaei vowed to publish it uncensored on social media adding that “we had a Revolution to hear the voice of the people”.

Read more at EghtesadOnline

June 1, 2021

Hemmati’s Documentary Not Aired

The campaign documentary of Abdol-Naser Hemmati was not aired at the allocated time tonight. The IRIB, stated that the documentary was not delivered to the broadcaster by the required deadline and could not be aired. Hemmati disputed this, saying that the IRIB asked him to remove a few scenes which he refused.

Read the IRIB statement here
Read Hemmati’s response on Twitter

May 30, 2021

Jalili: The Filtering of Twitter is not Justified

In a move archetypal of the irony of Iranian elections, Saeed Jalili took to Twitter to complain about its filtering by the Iranian firewall. Describing cyberspace as an opportunity, Jalili argued that it should be utilised by the government, not avoided. Twitter users were quick to pick up tweets Jalili made in 2016, which seemed to contradict his stated opinion today.

Read more at Tabnak

May 28, 2021

Broadcast of Zakani Interview Delayed for Censorship

Iranian television channel Jam-e Jam announced that they had had to delay the broadcast of an interview with Ali-Reza Zakani because they considered some parts of the interview inappropriate, and will instead broadcast an edited version soon. Zakani responded, saying that he reserved his right to complain to the electoral commission, complaining that the national media had insulted him and they must be held accountable.

Read more at IRNA

May 24, 2021

Firouzabadi: I Don’t Believe in Internet Filtering

Candidate Abol-Hassan Firouzabadi, who is the head of the Supreme Cyberspace Council, told ISNA that he does not believe in internet filtering as a solution in Iran. Referring to filtering as a “political vulgarity”, Firouzabadi said he was not responsible for filtering since he did not have legal authority, and that he believed there were ways that Iran could make the best of social media without banning websites. Iran heavily filters the internet, banning many social media pages (like Twitter and Facebook), and Firouzabadi oversaw the banning of Pokémon Go in 2016 over security concerns.

Read the interview at ISNA

May 9, 2021

Cyber Police Issue Warning About Election Fraud.

Ali-Mohammad Rajabi, the head of the Police’s Cyber Crime Detection and Prevention division, warned of a rise in cybercrime in the lead-up to the election, saying that various criminal groups are engaging in activities such as creating fake advertising agencies to take money from campaigns, as well as setting up fake campaign accounts on social media designed to steal donations and spread malware among followers. Rajabi added that to stay safe, ordinary citizens should only access news through official media, and candidates should only use social media platforms not blocked by internet censorship.

 Read more on ISNA

May 2, 2021

IRIB Restricts Live Broadcasts of Rouhani

Iran’s public broadcaster, the IRIB, will limit live broadcasts of President Rouhani due to the sensitivity around the election atmosphere. After two days of negotiation with President Rouhani, the IRIB said it will permit only three types of live broadcast: Rouhani addressing the Cabinet, Presidential announcements at the COVID headquarters and “Inauguration” Thursdays (where the President announces large national projects). 

Read more at Jamaran

April 10, 2021

Hassan Khomeini: “Inclusive” Elections will Return Iran to the People

Hassan Khomeini yesterday stated that for Iran to truly return to the people, it would need an inclusive election in which everybody was represented. His comments clearly were directed at hardline elements in the Guardian Council which vets candidates. Khomeini also took aim at censorship of social media, stating that the government’s attempts to filter Telegram had failed, and it was ludicrous that they would consider the same for other social media apps.

Read more on Entekhab