In the latest iteration of the attempts to change the Presidential Law, the Parliament has again rejected the amendments, specifically the condition that would restrict Presidential candidates to be between the ages of 40-75. The law was in part interpreted as being aimed at preventing Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, 38, from running in this Presidential election, and its rejection by the parliament was followed by speech by Azari Jahromi in which he commented on the election for the first time. The Parliament also rejected a condition which would attempt to define the Constitutional concept of “statesman (rajol-e siasi)”, which the Parliament rejected as not suitable for Common Law. The second condition is sensitive as the term has historically been interpreted as excluding women from running for president, an issue now in dispute. The law has led to a significant struggle between the Parliament and the Guardian Council which forced the intervention of the Expediency Council earlier this week. In a sign that the Guardian Council is unhappy with the result, a letter sent by dissenting members of Parliament to Ayatollah Janati was published, stating that since the Guardian Council vets candidates for election, they should have a greater role in deciding on the law.
Tejarat published an analysis on the possibility of women candidates in this election. In previous elections, women have been able to nominate but have never been approved, partially due to the wording of the Constitutional law on the criteria for President, the meaning of which is in dispute. Last year, a spokesperson for the Guardian Council, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, said that women were not excluded by law, although it has been unclear whether this was his personal opinion or that of the Guardian Council. So far, two women, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani and Sara Fadaei, both academics, have announced their candidacy, but the analysis also speculated that several other women might nominate. These include Elham Aminzadeh (former Vice President for Legal Affairs), Masoumeh Ebtekar (Vice President for Women and Families), Shahindokht Molaverdi (former Rouhani cabinet member), Zahra Nejad-Bahram (Tehran city councillor), and Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi (former Ahmadinejad cabinet minister). Faezeh Hashemi is the most prominent to nominate so far, although she does not expect to be approved: “Since I have a prison record, and am facing another case and a sentence, I will definitely be disqualified. But since I believe in women registering for elections, I will do so symbolically”.