June 9, 2021
Tehran Police Chief Responds to Debates
Hossein Rahimi, commander of the Greater Tehran police, criticised candidates for statements they made in the second debate regarding the Guidance Patrol, a morality police who enforce the hijab in public. Rahimi said “it is not possible to play with the Islamic and moral values of the society”, and these issues should not be exploited to collect votes. During the debate, Ebrahim Raisi promised to create a Guidance Patrol to police economic managers, and both Mohsen Mehr-Alizadeh and Ali-Reza Zakani weighed into a discussion about the enforcement of hijab in public.
June 1, 2021
Guardian Council Implies Hemmati Could Be Disqualified
Following remarks made by Abdol-Naser Hemmati on air in which he criticised the harassment of women for not observing proper hijab, Ahmad Khatami, a senior clerical member of the Guardian Council said Hemmati’s comments went against Islamic rules on women and the veil in public places, and warned Hemmati that he should be careful since adherence to Islam is legally necessary for candidates in elections. Several commentators interpreted this as a threat that Hemmati, who is shaping up as the main challenger to front-runner Ebrahim Raisi, may be disqualified before election day. These commentators linked Ahmad Khatami’s comments to a statement on May 7 by another Guardian Council member, Hadi Tahan Nazif, that candidates can be disqualified during the campaign period if it is determined by the Guardian Council that they are no longer eligible. For his part, Hemmati said that he will not censor himself, even if it risks his disqualification, and he is merely reflecting the views of the majority of the people.
May 13, 2021
Ali Motahari Registers
Prominent conservative figure Ali Motahari was the most well-known candidate to register today. When asked if he would step aside for any candidate, he responded: “I enter the election independently and the Reformist consensus body did not pay attention to me”. Motahari, who has been known for controversial statements in recent weeks regarding the personal freedoms of women, sought to counter this image by saying he was opposed to the prohibition of women cycling.
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.
April 11, 2021
Rafsanjani’s Widow: “There is Nothing a Woman Cannot Do”
Effat Marashi, the widow of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and the mother of female candidate Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, shares her thoughts on the prospects of Iranian woman becoming President. In a veiled challenge to the Guardian Council, which has always disqualified female candidates, she stated, “if there is a woman who has the power to do this important job, she has the right to become President and no one can take that right away from her”. When asked if she thought a woman could run the country, Marashi swiftly replied “There is nothing that women can’t do”.
April 9, 2021
Motahari: I was taken out of context.
In his first remarks since his controversial appearance on Clubhouse on Wednesday, Ali Motahari stated that out of a nearly three hours discussion, only five minutes had been torn apart by the media. He added that “I will not be strict on the hijab if elected” contrary to what was being reported. He also took a swipe at Mohammad-Javad Zarif, saying that he was suited for the Foreign Ministry and “does not have the skin” to be President.
April 8, 2021
Motahari makes bizarre misogynistic and racist comments on Clubhouse
In an appearance on Clubhouse, candidate Ali Motahari commented on women’s rights, polygamy, veiling and sexuality. On the issue of hijab, Motahari stated “I do not see the hijab as a choice, and I do not believe in freedom for it [being a choice]. I do not consider being half-naked to be a human freedom, and I consider it an instinctive animal freedom.” On male sexuality, he added, “It is good that our youth are aroused by seeing the hand of a woman. Now in Europe, they [youth] have a problem with this issue, they are not aroused. Men are not aroused, and women turn to African men”. On the campaign trail, it is likely that Motahari, who often makes controversial remarks, set out to get attention through his comments.
March 30, 2021
Faezeh Hashemi: I Prefer to Debate Mr Khamenei
Faezeh Hashemi, one of the only women to declare intention to run, declared in an interview that she would prefer to debate the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on domestic politics, as opposed to other potential candidates. In the same interview, she also questioned the democratic intentions of both the Reformists and Principalists, and criticised the harassment of women by the Ansar-e Hezbollah group.
March 29, 2021
Rahami: I am the new-look Khatami
Reformist figure Mohsen Rahami declared if elected, he would be a “new look Khatami with new words”. Stating that if he was allowed to run, he would win 20 million votes, he added that his most important priorities beyond the economy were the protection of the rights of minorities and women.