Women and the Right to Be President , Fariba Davoodi Mohajer

Article 115 of the Iranian Constitution covers the candidacy requirements for the office of the president of the Islamic Republic. According to this article the president must be elected from a pool of “religious and political men,” a phrase that has always triggered much dialogue during the presidential election season. Some interpret “men” in the phrase as literal and believe that constitutionally, women do not have the right to run for president. Others consider the word “men” as public figures and as a result the constitution does not restrict women from standing for presidency. This argument specifically gains credibility due to the fact that at the time the Constitution was being written, initially the Farsi word for man (Mard) was used, but after a lot of discussion, it was replaced by the Arabic word (Rajol) which in Farsi can refer to women in certain contexts.
Last week Mohammad Yazdi, a cleric on the Guardian Council responded to a female who was trying to run for president. In a very condescending fashion, he stated that 34 years after the Constitution was written it is clear that “the Constitution does not allow women to be president and I do not understand how this lady has already chosen her cabinet members.” This female candidate had stated that should she be elected, her cabinet would be composed of half male and half female members. Mohammad Yazdi made these statements at a gathering of teachers and students from the Qom religious school. Thirty women have registered to be considered as potential presidential candidates this year.
Prior to this, Gholamhossein Elham, the former spokesman and current member of the Guardian Council stated that “the literal text of the Constitution clearly states that the candidate must be a male and also a political figure.” These comments triggered a lot of criticism. Among the critics, Fatemeh Rakei and Akram Mansouri Manesh, two congresswomen from the sixth parliament and members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front political party, sharply criticized the comments and said that this interpretation of the Constitution reduces the trust of women in the government, because an interpretation such as this suggests that women do not possess the management abilities required for the various government levels.
In an interview with Etemad newspaper concerning the comments by the Guardian Council, Mohammad Hashemi said that the Article 115 of the Constitution does not need any special analysis and it will be interpreted through the norms and social atmosphere in society and the issue should not be settled by a group within the Guardian Council.
Yazdi’s comments were also followed by a wave of criticism from women’s rights and human rights activists. Journalist Asieh Amini told Radio Farda that “Women should not run, because society is not prepared to accept them. Look at the positions well below the presidency. Whenever a woman is designated at the highest level of management in an organization, everybody begins to prejudge. It is this institution, our society and our country that need to be educated about female leaders. We have a lot of competent, highly educated women with a good management background and who can rise step by step just like anybody else who lives in this society. There is no difference between men and women. It is society that needs to learn to accept and at the moment the acceptance is not there.”
Hossein Ghazian, a sociologist based in Washington believes that neither the Iranian government, nor a large portion of society recognize women as legitimate political figures. Concerning the government’s view on women, he believes that “the roots of the issue go back to the government which came out of a revolution based on Islamic ideology. This ideology later became more fundamentalist. In this ideology, women are second class citizens in the service of men”.
Following the vast rejection of candidates, Ahmad Shaheed the UNSR on human rights in Iran said, “These rejections, which included women, were discriminatory and violated the basic right of participation in political process. It is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a signatory.” In a statement, five UN reporters also warned about the limitations on the rights of Iranian citizens, especially women. Kamala Chandrakirana, the head of the UN discrimination against women working group also said, “This action by the Iranian government increases the lack of participation of women in public, political and professional sectors.”
Thirty-four years after the foundation of the Islamic Republic, it is obvious that discrimination forms a major part in the lack of women’s political, social and economic opportunities. Women are kept from reaching high management positions including the presidency. Although the elimination of women has always been defended through religious arguments, it is internalizing beliefs and creating classes in society. As half of society, women need to legally and religiously obey and they have no other options. Criticisms and protests have not generated any change and this “obeying” is ongoing from the homes to the different levels in society. Major decision making in the Islamic regime is considered a man’s responsibility and women should not interfere with it. Furthermore, following the condescending statements by Mr. Yazdi, no official in the Islamic Republic and no male or female Islamic conservative reacted. This demonstrates the condescending view of the Islamic Republic towards women in the different sectors of society and politics. This belief existed from day one in the regime and it is visible in Article 115 of its Constitution; an article which was passed with doubts, so that it can stop women from running for presidency as any other normal citizen can.
It is notable that some people also believe that women are not qualified for the position either. Hossien Ghazian has said that “the latest information I have on the issue, is from research done in the early 2000s. People were asked this very question – if women are qualified for positions like the presidency. Almost one third of the people believed women are qualified for presidency. The other two third were either opposed to it or were undecided. This poll showed that the idea had still not been created in the society that women are qualified.”
Obviously, the social preparedness or lack that of cannot be a justification for not having equal protection by law and lawmakers must look at all sectors of the society without discrimination and create adequate legislation. Unfortunately, the paternalistic foundation of the bureaucracy in Iran and the paternalistic literature in government organizations has increased a sense of male superiority in the regime. This masculinism is keeping women from acquiring mid and high level positions in the government bureaucracy and obstructs their ability to compete with men. Statistically speaking, women form 4.9 percent of the workforce and the percentage of women in the private sector who reach high management levels is 9.4.
International and national experience shows us that the presence and participation of women in the decision making and management of the country will result in a better use of its national and social resources and encourages sustainable expansion, especially sustainable human development. Considering all this, a basic question is worth asking: If during the past 34 years, the existing qualities and precious experiences of many working and able women had been valued and considered, would not Iranian society be in a better condition than today?

Source: IHRV.ORG


Iran Takes To The Polls To Elect New President

People have six candidates to choose from but women or anyone with a reformist agenda were banned from standing.Voting has begun in Iran to elect a new president as Mahmoud Ahmadinajad is replaced after serving his maximum eight years in charge.There are six candidates but Iran’s Guardian Council has restricted those who can stand, banning women or other candidates with an agenda considered to be reformist or liberal.
There are no political parties in the conventional sense – just a contest between candidates who profess absolute loyalty to the Supreme Leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and others who are considered slighting more reformist but by no means moderate.On the campaign trail, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is seen as one of the front-runners.He has positioned himself as the most hardline of the candidates but there is speculation he may be viewed by Iran’s Supreme Leader as too much of a wild card because of his implacable attitude to the west.

His election would signal a no-change president in Iran’s posture to the outside world. Another favourite is Mohammad Ghalibaf, the current mayor of the capital Tehran, who is a conservative with strong ties to the security forces.If there is such a thing as a moderate voice amongst the conservative candidates it is Hassan Rouhani, a British-educated cleric.On the streets of Tehran, people who might count themselves amongst the opposition have been gathering to support him, because in the absence of a more reformist figure he may get their vote.

But whoever wins will have a limited mandate on nuclear policy and relations with the West.In Iran it is the hard-line supreme leader who has the say, not the president.The supreme leader spectacularly fell out with Mr Ahmadinajad in spite of backing him in 2009 during elections which critics said were rigged and led to wide-spread protests.

Sky News spoke to a participant in the demonstrations dubbed the Green Revolution.

He did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals but told us he he was held for six months and tortured.He said: „I was like an empty person, an animal. I was like a piece of meat.“If there are demonstrations during this election – and I hope there will be – and people take to the streets in Tehran they must stay out day and night.And if people get killed, injured, arrested and tortured they must persist and stay out on the streets for the government to fall. They cannot go back to the roof tops and just shout slogans.“One of the biggest issues domestically is the economy, which is in its worst state for decades with high inflation, soaring unemployment and negative growth.The value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has more than halved in a year, after a collapse blamed on government mismanagement and sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors imposed by the US and EU.
The fall of the rial has led to sharp cuts in imports and raised Iran’s inflation to its highest level in 18 years.

(Sky News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lisa Holland was refused a visa to travel to Iran to cover the election. She compiled this report in London.)

Translate from: English
إيران يخرج إلى صناديق الاقتراع لانتخاب رئيس جديد
ایران را به پای صندوقهای رای برای انتخاب رئیس جمهور جدید
Irán lleva a las urnas para elegir nuevo presidente
Irã leva às urnas para eleger novo presidente
Iran porta alle urne per eleggere il nuovo presidente
Ιράν λαμβάνει στις κάλπες για να εκλέξει νέο πρόεδρο


Iran’s constitutional dictatorship furthers ‚conspiracy‘

The West knows him as „the Ayatollah“, although the veracity of the religious title is debatable. So is the way the ruling system has tailored it.

Who is this so-called ayatollah? Here, we discuss his exalted position with Dr Kazem Alamdari, a sociology professor at California State University. But first, let’s look at a few facts.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, stands above its head of state, its judiciary and the legislature — the three foremost branches of power. A 74-year-old cleric, therefore, is the top figure… in a country that plays such an important role in the Middle East. Commander of the armed forces, he appoints all its military chiefs. The authority to declare war or call a referendum rests with him.

Khamenei succeeded Khomeini, who led the 1979 Revolution. His duties have included appointing the heads of the Judiciary and the state media apparatus, and also half the members of the Guardian Council — those overseeing Islamic jurisprudence. This Council checks new laws passed by the parliament, and vets presidential and parliamentary candidates.

Khamenei doesn’t have to charismatic, and he isn’t seen that way by the many protesters who have destroyed the top political figure’s portrait in the streets of the capital, shouting: „Down with the Dictator!“ — at the risk (women included) of being clubbed over the head by security forces wielding batons.

Iran’s leader branded the widespread protests over the result of the previous, 2009, presidential elections as „sedition“. Two of the candidates of those polls, Mirhossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karoubi, are still under house arrest.

The unwritten punishment for criticizing the leader of the Islamic Republic can include anything from temporary detention to being killed — ‚physical removal‘ is a term in vogue now.In 1997, a German court held Khamenei and then-President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani responsible for the assassination in 1992 of three opposition member in Berlin. Khamenei describes himself as a revolutionary. He has said he is not a diplomat, but many signs point to his office as the place where all matters of supreme importance are decided, such as policy on relations with the United States and Iran’s nuclear activities.

Ali Kheradpir, euronews: „Professor Alamdari, is there any similarity in any other country to Mr Khamenei’s political and religious position as enshrined in the Iranian Constitution?“


Election Campaign, Iranian Style – Part II

Photos by Mehr News Agency photographers

In many Iranian cities, supporters of various presidential candidates have taken to the streets to campaign for their favorite candidate. These photos show the people in Tehran on Wednesday engaged in the lively campaign.

I Will Vote

Campaigning for the presidency and for City Council positions ended at 8 AM today, Thursday June 13, and candidates are no longer allowed to engage in any form of advertisement. According to elections laws, advertising must end 24 hours prior to the actual elections. The elections are set for Friday, June 14.

Eight men were approved by the Guardian Council to run for president, out of which two have dropped out of the race.

Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Presidential Vote Under Way

Source: RFE/RL

The voting is under way in Iran in an election to choose a replacement for President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

Opinion surveys have suggested a close race between moderate cleric and former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani, who is backed by pro-reform elements, and conservative candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the current mayor of Tehran and a former security official. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Election Campaign In The Streets Of Tehran

Photos by Arash Khamooshi, ISNA

In recent days, supporters of Iranian presidential candidates have been taking to the streets to campaign for their favorite candidate. Photographer Arash Khamooshi has captured the excitement in the capital city Tehran. Iran’s 2013 presidential election will be held June 14. Eight men were approved by the Guardian Council to run in the election, out of which two have dropped out of the race.

Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

POMED Guide to Iran’s Presidential Election

In anticipation of Iran’s upcoming election, POMED is excited to announce the release of our new publication, „A Guide to Iran’s Presidential Election.“




On June 14, Iranians will vote in a presidential election to replace incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose term ends in August. The election is being held in the shadow of 2009’s contested vote, which prompted massive protests and a subsequent government crackdown that resulted in the arrest, detention, and torture of thousands. Many Iranians are understandably disillusioned, believing the June election to be nothing more than a means by which the Iranian government can reassert its legitimacy and deepen the allegiance of its citizens to the system. Despite these concerns, the election process presents a unique window into the internal debates and disagreements gripping the Islamic Republic.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the twelve-person Guardian Council acting under his authority, retains extensive control over the electoral process. It is generally believed that the outcome will be predetermined through vetting, fraud, or both. In 2009, the Supreme Leader’s decision to endorse Ahmadinejad before the Guardian Council had certified the results both violated the election law and undermined faith in the Supreme Leader’s historic role as a neutral arbiter. Factional infighting and elite rivalries have worsened, and the political battles that have typically characterized these rivalries are now being waged publicly—a development that is dramatically affecting the pre-election environment.
The full report is available to view or download as a PDF on our website.


Guide To Iran’s June 2013 Presidential Election



The Iranian Presidential election takes place in three anchors: one unofficial and two official, leading to the vote on 14 June.


Months of maneuvering for position preceded the hopefuls‘ formal declaration of their intention to stand this week.

This year, the jockeying has involved tensions between the 2+1 coalition — which has sought but so far not decided upon a „unity“ candidate — and the more than 20 presidential hopefuls, including many conservatives and principlists, who have declared their aspiration to stand. By April, no less than seven different factions had emerged.


The first official anchor of the election is from 7-11 May, when presidential hopefuls formally register their names for consideration by the Guardian Council.

The Guardian Council — which consists of 12 members, six experts in Islamic law — reviews all the submissions. It rules on the suitability of candidates according to qualifications, standing under Islam, loyalty to the Islamic Republic, and suitability for office. In 2009, the Council approved only four men — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohsen Rezaei — for the June election. This powerful group of jurists and clergy are is expected to make its final decision on the list of candidates by May 23, leaving little time for campaigning. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iranian Political Prisoner Mehdi Khazali Released After Weight, Health Plummet

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian political prisoner Mehdi Khazali was released from Evin Prison on the night of Monday June 3. Kaleme reports that Khazali began another hunger strike after Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had been the top reformist candidate seeking the Iranian presidency, was disqualified from the race.

Mehdi Khazali supporters praying for him
 (file photo)

According to the reports, Khazali was in critical condition, with his weight down to 52 kg.

Khazali had ended his previous hunger strike after 140 days at the request of his peers. He had announced that in commendation of Ayatollah Rafsanjani, he would end his hunger strike.

A week later, the Guardian Council announced the list of approved presidential candidates, and it did not include the moderate cleric Ayatollah Rafsanjani. Khazali announced that he would resume his hunger strike.

Mehdi Khazali was arrested last October at a gathering of writers. Khazali, a physician by profession, runs a political commentary blog.




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