Too sexy for politics? Iranian woman ousted from office for her ‘model’ looks
Nina Siakhali Moradi was elected to join the Qazvin city council. But she was disqualified, reportedly for looking like a ‘catwalk model’ and ‘not observing the Islamic norms.’
By Carol Kuruvilla / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
This is the face that launched a thousand protests.
A democratically-elected city council official in Iran has reportedly been barred from taking up office — just because men in power thought she was too beautiful to serve.
But Nina Siakhali Moradi is more than just a pretty face. The 27-year-old from Qazvin, a city northwest of Tehran, is an architect and website designer. She managed to collect 10,000 votes during the June election, the Independent reports. Moradi placed 14th on a list of 163 candidates, which allowed her to become an “alternate member of the Council.”
When one of the men above her in the rankings gave up his seat, Moradi was bumped up to a full council member.
An electoral review board, composed of older conservative men, decided to kick her out.
“We don’t want a catwalk model on the council,” a senior official in Qazvin told local press.
They allegedly blamed the ouster on Moradi’s “vulgar and anti-religious” campaign posters.
In the supposedly scandalous photos, Moradi has pushed all her hair under a black hijab. If she wears any makeup, it is hardly noticeable.
But the posters weren’t the only thing bothering her opponents. Moradi represented a younger Iran. Campaigning under the slogan “Young Ideas For A Young Future,” Moradi promised to fight for women's rights. She also wanted to restore the old city, the former capital of the ancient Persian Empire, and to include youth in town planning.
According to IranWire, Moradi’s campaign headquarters attracted many local young people. Their actions, attitudes and choice of clothing appeared to be out of line with the town’s traditions.
Moradi’s opponents claimed that she only won because she was beautiful and young.
A coalition of religious groups sent a complaint letter to the governor of Qazvin. It was challenged, but in the end, Moradi was pushed out of office for “not observing the Islamic norms.”
Qazvin legal expert Mohammed Olaiyehfard said it was wrong for the election review board to shun a candidate after he or she has been approved by Iran’s judiciary and intelligence services.
“It is illegal for the election review board to disqualify someone who had initially been qualified to run and then later won the election. 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,” he told the Independent.
Qazvin officials have also reportedly detained and questioned two other female contenders, Maryam Nakhostin-Ahmadi and Shahla Atefeh. Their campaign posters were confiscated.
Iran’s new president Hassan Rowhani has promised that women would be treated fairly during his term. During a televised debate, he said he wanted to return women’s “trampled rights,” Al Arabiya reports.
This week, Rowhani chose a woman, Elham Aminzadeh, as his vice-president of legal affairs, Bloomberg reports.