Ahmad Shaheed

The United Nations rapporteur on Iran, Ahmad Shaheed, has condemned the widespread disqualification of candidates in Iran and the “severe” restrictions against journalists.

The International Campaign on Human Rights reports that Ahmad Shaheed and four other UN human rights experts have spoken out against the disqualification of all women presidential candidates by the Guardian Council as highly discriminatory and in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report indicates that this approach further exacerbates the lack of women in political and professional arenas.

686 names had been registered for the presidential election of 2013, of which 30 were women. The Guardian Council has only approved eight men out of all the applicants.

In their announcement, the UN experts condemn the intensification of media restrictions in the time leading up to the election, referring to the incarceration of 40 journalists, the blocking of numerous websites, and the reduction in Internet speed and regular disruptions of text-messaging services.

Most recently, the culture minister has called for further restrictions on the foreign journalists seeking permits to cover the presidential election.

The Ministry of Culture has also warned the media that it will increase supervision over media activities during the elections and urged them to “control themselves.”

The last presidential election turned into widespread mass protests, and many journalists and media outlets were the targets of a government crackdown aimed at quelling the protests.