The new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to improve the rights of women in the Islamic Republic, but one female politician isn’t feeling the change.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nina Siakhali Moradi was disqualified from serving on the city council to which she was elected because religious conservatives deemed her to be “too sexy” and not in line with Islamic norms, reports the Times of London.
Moradi, who has been described as an engineer, a website designer and a graduate architecture student, placed 14th out of 163 candidates after receiving 10,000 votes in city council elections in Qazvin, a city 100 miles from Tehran that was the ancient capital of the Persian Empire.
The Independent explains that though she initially did not make the cut, she was named an alternate. One of the elected councilors was later selected to serve as mayor then opened a spot that should have gone to Moradi had she not been disqualified.
A senior Qazvin official told the Times: “We don’t want a catwalk model on the council.”
“Almost 10,000 people voted for me and based on that I should be the first alternate member of the City Council,” Moradi protested to Iranian media.
Though her campaign posters showed a photo of her with her hair strictly covered in traditional Islamic style “without a strand of hair on display,” religious conservatives launched their protest as soon as her election was confirmed, reports Albawaba.
A religious coalition wrote a letter to Qazvin’s governor blasting her “vulgar and anti-religious” posters that they contend breached Islamic law.
According to Iran Wire, the hardline activists also objected to her campaign headquarters having become a gathering for youths whose more liberal dress styles did not sit well with her opponents.
According to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, she was thus disqualified for her alleged “non-observance of Islamic codes.”
Albawaba reports that Moradi’s campaign slogan was “Young ideas for a young future,” and that her platform included improved women’s rights, restoring Qazvin’s old city and encouraging the involvement of younger citizens in town planning.
Notably, the Independent reports that President Rouhani said in a television debate during the Iranian presidential election campaign: “Women work but don’t enjoy equal rights. I will form a women’s affairs ministry to return their trampled rights to them.”