LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A woman in Iran has been barred from taking up a post as city councillor for being “too sexy”, according to media reports.
Nina Siakhali Moradi, a 27-year-old engineer and web designer, was refused the role after religious conservatives overturned her election win in a June poll in the Iranian city of Qazvin, 100 miles (160 km) north of the capital Tehran.
“We don’t want a catwalk model on the council,” a senior official in Qazvin told local press, according to news website Al Arabiya.
Moradi had garnered more than 10,000 votes in the election, coming in 14th out of 163 candidates and winning her a council seat. Despite the result, she was disqualified for not “observing the Islamic norms”, Al Arabiya said.
Religious groups criticised her campaign posters – where she appeared in a strict hijab – labelling them as “vulgar and anti-religious.”
Local media also reported that other complaints were logged against the young female politician, with opponents angered by the behaviour and clothing of local young people who had started gathering at her campaign headquarters.
Moradi campaigned under the slogan, “Young ideas for a young future,” and was pushing for the advancement of women’s rights as well as for greater youth involvement in city planning.
Iranian authorities had approved her candidacy and she was popular with the electorate, Al Arabiya reported, citing British newspaper The Times.
Iran’s new president Hassan Rowhani promised to improve the Islamic Republic’s dismal human rights record during his electoral campaign and expectations are high both at home and abroad for him to deliver on his promises.
However, in an interview earlier this month, Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi told Thomson Reuters Foundation the country’s record on human and women’s rights was unlikely to improve under Rouhani.