Rouhani Staff Repeatedly Blocked From Campaigning in North Tehran Weeks Before 2017 Elections
For the second week in a row, the staff at the campaign headquarters of incumbent President Hassan Rouhani in north Tehran has been prevented from campaigning in the run-up to Iran’s May 19, 2017 elections for president and local councils.
“Several people, some wearing police uniforms and others in civilian clothes, prevented us from leaving the building after the (second presidential) debate and would not allow us to go out into the city and campaign,” a source, who asked not to be identified, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 5.
“The people in the street responded by shouting ‘freedom of thought will not be beaten down,’” added the source.
Rouhani’s campaign office in the Gheytarieh district of north Tehran was also blocked off a week earlier, after the first presidential debate on April 28.
“After the first debate, we were planning to go into the streets and talk to the people and campaign for our candidate, but we were prevented by the security forces who said we didn’t have a permit,” another informed source told CHRI.
“But we had no intention of holding a demonstration, so we didn’t need a permit,” added the source. “We only wanted to campaign in the streets around the office, but the security agents said we could only do that inside the office, not in the city.”
Earlier this week the campaign headquarters of reformist candidates running in the council elections in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, was also shuttered on May 2 by Deputy Prosecutor and Judge Hassan Heidari.
Speeches by Gholamhossein Karbaschi in support of Rouhani, and talks by reformist candidates running in the local council and village elections have meanwhile been cancelled by the authorities in four cities, according to reformist politician Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.