An Iranian politician is being stripped of her votes in an election because apparently she is too pretty for the ugly world of politics.
The woman is Nina Siahkali Moradi, a 27-year-old architecture graduate from Iran. During the last election in the city of Qazvin, she received an impressive 10,000 votes. That total placed her 14th out of the 163 candidates on the ballot. Her campaign, which successfully recruited the youth vote from Qazvin, earned her a spot as an alternate member of the council. This designation effectively made Moradi the first reserve to the council, granting her a spot on the council if any current members stepped down from their position.
But when a council member ranked above Moradi stepped down, she was blocked from filling his seat. The reason?
“We don’t want a catwalk model on the council,” a senior Qazvin official said.
Seyed Reza Hossaini, Qazvin’s representative in the Iranian parliament, had this to say when asked about the ordeal by news agency IranWire:
“Her votes have been nullified due to her disqualification, as the review board did not approve her credentials. We have told her the reason why she has been disqualified.”
Moradi was understandably upset by the news.
"Almost 10,000 people voted for me and based on that I should be the first alternate member of the City Council,” she said.
At least one legal expert in Iran agrees with her.
Mohammed Olaiyehfard, a lawyer from Qazvin, says it is illegal for the city to nullify Moradi’s votes. Olaiyehfard says the council may disqualify a candidate before or during an election, but not after an election has taken place.
“For this reason, it is illegal for the election review board to disqualify someone who had initially been qualified to run and then later won the election,” Olaiyehfard said. “It seems that this is a pretext in order to create an obstacle in order for this individual to not be able to join the Qazvin City Council.”
The news of the council’s rejection of Moradi comes at a time when Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has promised to restore a respect for civil rights in Iran. In a presidential debate during the country’s election, Rowhani said that “Women work but don’t enjoy equal rights. I will form a women’s affairs ministry to return their trampled rights to them.”