Iranian Media on Election 2020

Iranian newspapers have been divided in their coverage of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 21. Reformist papers initially focused on the Guardian Council’s disqualification of 90 incumbent lawmakers and the vast majority of reformist candidates. Reformist papers also highlighted President Hassan Rouhani’s criticism of the stringent vetting, which worked in favor of hardliners. One daily, Aftab-e Yazd, commented on the mass disqualification with the headline, “Conservatives’ Hot Competition with Conservatives,” on February 12. 

Conservative and hardline papers largely focused on leaders’ calls for a high turnout in the election. The regime cites voter participation as a reflection of public support. The following is a reverse chronological sampling of election coverage.


February 19

Abrar (conservative newspaper):

  • Politician: Reformists Far from Society’s Pulse



Aftab-e Yazd (reformist newspaper):

  • Leader Urges People to Create Strong Parliament with Their Huge Turnout in Elections



Etemad Newspaper:

  • Reformist Member of Parliament Predicts Strong Minority

Etemad 19


Hamshahri (centrist newspaper):

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader: Friends and Foes All Focused on Iran Elections

Hamshahri 19


Javan (hardline newspaper):

  • Weak Parliament to Have Long-Term Negative Effect: Supreme Leader

Javan 19


Kayhan (hardline newspaper):

  • Supreme Leader: People Must Choose Lawmakers Carefully; Some Have Become Servants of the United States



Sazandegi (centrist newspaper):

  • Unity among Reformists

  • Failure of Conservatives’ Unity

Sazandegi 19


Shahrvand (reformist newspaper):

  • Iran Leader: Don’t Worry, People Will Know What to Do

Shahrvand 19


February 18

Etemad (reformist newspaper)

  • Election Turnout; Right or Duty?

  • Reformism Does Not Reach Dead-end: Abdollah Ramazanzadeh

Etemad 18


February 17


Etemad (reformist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: We’d Lose If We Boycott Elections

Etemad 17


Ettela’at (centrist newspaper):

  • Judiciary Chief: General [Qassem] Soleimani Didn’t Consider People’s Vote as Ceremonial

Ettelat 17


February 16


Ebtekar (centrist newspaper):

  • The Great Coalition of Reformists

Ebtekar 16


February 12


Aftab-e Yazd (reformist newspaper):


  • Conservatives’ Hot Competition with Conservatives!

Aftab 12


Etemad (reformist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: We Shouldn’t Boycott Elections

Etemad 12


Iran (conservative newspaper):

  • Rouhani: Elections, Ballot Box Will Save Us

Iran 12


Shahrvand (reformist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: Election Most Important Fruit of Revolution

Shahrvand 12


February 10


Sazandegi (centrist newspaper):

  • Return of Reformists

  • Some Reformist Parties Will Field Candidates for Iran Elections 2020

Sazandegi 12


February 6


Kayhan (hardline newspaper):

  • Don’t Make People Discouraged about Elections by Telling Lies: Leader

Kayhan 6


Shargh (reformist newspaper):

  • Supreme Leader: People’s Complaints Not about Election Itself

Shargh 6


February 5


Shargh (reformist newspaper):

  • Reformists Say Won’t Field Candidates for Iran Elections 2020

Shargh 5


February 3


Ettela’at (centrist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: It’s Against Imam Khomeini’s Will to Discourage People from Voting

Ettela'at 3


Kayhan (hardline newspaper):

  • Number of Reformist Candidates This Time Several Times More than Previous Elections

Kayhan 3


February 2


Ebtekar (centrist newspaper):

  • Too Many Conservative Candidates for Parliamentary Votes Makes It Difficult for Them to Unite

Ebtekar 2


Etemad (reformist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: It Was Imam Khomeini Who Said Political Structure Must Be Put to Referendum

Etemad 2


Ettela’at (centrist newspaper):

  • Guardian Council: Half of Parliamentary Candidates Qualified to Run

Ettelat 2


Javan (hardline newspaper):

  • 2,000 Disqualified Candidates Return to Election

Javan 2


January 24

Arman-e Melli (reformist newspaper):

  • Rouhani: We’ll Get Nowhere If Only One Faction Is Satisfied in Elections

Arman 24


Jomhouri Eslami (conservative newspaper):

  • Rouhani: Election Must Be Competitive

Jomhouri 24