Iran: Progressive media grills ban suggestion on minorities to contest elections
TEHRAN: (Christian Times) – Iranian Guardian Council’s important member Ayatollah Muhammad Yazdi has demanded a complete ban on the candidature of minority members from the Muslim majority areas in the elections. He said that some people wanted to make a political issue out of the suspension of the Zoroastrian minority member declaring it illegal. “I want to make it clear that this decision can neither be overturned nor criticised”, he said. The authority to make such decisions rested only with the religious jurists, he claimed. He added that if the scholars deemed something un-Islamic, it could not be considered otherwise unless the scholars revoke their decision.
It is important to mention here that Zoroastrian member of the city council in Yazd Sepanta Niknam had been temporarily suspended by the administrative court in September 2017. The decision had been made upon a write filed by a Muslim member Ali Asghar Bahgri, who had lost the local council election in May earlier this year.
Reformist newspapers in Iran severely criticised the decision and said that this issue needed to be discussed regardless of the correctness or incorrectness of the guardian council decision. “When the supreme leader of Iran has stated that even he can be criticised on any matter then how could the council members equate the criticism of this (Niknam’s suspension) decision as an attempt to damage the foundations of the state?”, they asked.
Zoroastrians have been living in Yazd for centuries and they have their holy places there too. According to the 2011 census, the Zoroastrian population in Iran has reduced to just 25,000.