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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.