June 18, 2021
Polls Open on Election Day
Voting opened at 7am with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casting the first vote at the Shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. After voting, Khamenei spoke to the media, saying “today belongs to the people” and adding “the sooner you do this duty [vote], the better”. Polling stations, mostly located in religious buildings like mosques, hoseeiniyehs (ceremonial halls) and imamzadehs (shrines), were scheduled to open at 7am and close at midnight.
June 18, 2021
Mehr-Alizadeh Heckled at Polling Station
Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh, the Reformist candidate who resigned on Wednesday, arrived at the Jamaran Hosseiniyeh (where Ayatollah Khomeini once lived and taught) in the northern part of Tehran to vote at 11:30am. His visit was marred by heckling at the polling station, with several people reportedly shouting “marg bar zed-e velayat-e faqih [death to the opponents of the Guardianship of Jurists]” at the candidate. The Guardianship of the Jurists is the official system of government in Iran where clerics have juridical and political oversight over government, and the chant is popular among devoted supporters of the Supreme Leader. The chant indicates the hostility of hard-line conservatives who see Reformists as subversive.
June 16, 2021
Leader Encourages Iranians to Vote
In an address to the nation, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that by voting, Iranians ensure the safety of the republican system. Khamenei said that if the turnout is low, it will allow the enemy to coerce Iran with the intention of making the country a hotbed for terrorism. Khamenei said that Iranians should not take advantage of their democracy and look to Saudi Arabia, where citizens “don’t know a ballot box from a fruit box”.
June 15, 2021
Supreme Leader’s Brother Tells Hemmati and Mehr -Alizadeh to be Allies
Hadi Khamenei, brother of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, published an open letter to Abdol-Naser Hemmati and Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh, addressing them as “Reformists” and telling them form a coalition. Khamenei wrote to the two candidates that “your efforts in defence of the Republic and of reform for the transformation of the Iranian people are commendable… I ask you to form an alliance with each other and unite with the presence of one of the two of you in the race”. Khamenei said that Hemmati and Mehr-Alizadeh would set a good example to the people of Iran by doing so in service of their country.
June 4, 2021
Khamenei Complains of Disqualifications, Guardian Council Responds
In his address on the anniversary of Khomeini’s death, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei complained of the disqualification of some candidates, saying that some were unjustly disqualified and “persecuted” on false information about family, and should be compensated. The Guardian Council quickly responded with spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei tweeting that the Leader’s words were to be obeyed and that they would make an announcement soon. The reference to family made it clear that Khamenei was speaking about Ali Larijani. Later that evening, the Guardian Council issued a statement in which they agreed with the Leader’s comments, but said the “false” information had not influenced their decision making and so no changes would be made to the list of candidates. Ali Larijani then published a handwritten letter to the Supreme Leader, in which he thanked him for “demanding the elimination of oppression and persecution as occurred in the examination of the qualifications of presidential candidates” before praising his “greatness, magnanimity and spirit of righteousness of the Imam (Khomeini)”.
June 4, 2021
Khomeini’s Death is Mourned
The thirty-second anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Revolution, first Supreme Leader of Iran and founder of the Islamic Republic, occurred today. The day is a large public holiday which ordinarily involves a procession to his grave at the Imam Khomeini Shrine in South Tehran. His successor, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, addressed the nation, saying that Khomeini considered voting a religious duty and, under certain circumstances, not voting a terrible sin.
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
Rouhani Writes to Leader about Disqualifications.
President Hassan Rouhani said that on Tuesday night he wrote to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to express his reservations about the candidates disqualified from this election. Rouhani outlined his anxieties in the speech, saying “What will happen to our national cohesion if, God forbid, the presence in the elections is low?” He added that “The soul of elections is competition; if you take this from the elections, the body will become lifeless. The principle of elections is that there should be intense competition to form real elections”.
May 18, 2021
Women Do Not Need Husbands’ Permission to Vote
The Office of the Supreme Leader has issued a number of religious opinions relating to the election in response to questions from the public. Among the rulings are that voting is religiously obligatory and submitting a blank vote is haram. One question asked if women required permission from their husbands to leave the house to vote, the answer of which is no, they do not require permission.
May 11, 2021
Khamenei Clarifies “Young Revolutionary Government” Statement
In a meeting with university students, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that in his statement last year, that the next President should be a “young hezbollahi” overseeing a “young Revolutionary government”, he did not mean “a government in which all members are in the age group of 30 to 35 years”. Khamenei’s statement last year has been seized upon by supporters of Saeed Mohammad as an endorsement of their candidate. Khamenei seemed to distance his words from Saeed Mohammad while also bringing his statements in line with the Guardian Council’s recent changes to the vetting of candidates which prohibits registrations of people under 40.