Iran’s short campaign period, only three weeks long, was nevertheless intense and colorful. Presidential candidates usually traverse Iran’s 31 provinces and hold mass rallies with thousands of attendees. But in 2021, the seven candidates running for president had to modify their campaign tactics to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. Iran was an early epicenter of the pandemic and, as of June 16, only one percent of the population had been fully vaccinated. In the first half of June, the daily death toll exceeded 100. The national coronavirus taskforce stipulated that large campaign events should be held in outdoor venues at 30 percent capacity with mandatory masking. It said indoor gatherings should be limited to between 15 people and 30 people, depending on the venue and local infection rate. But enforcement was lax.
On June 9, frontrunner Ebrahim Raisi held the largest mass rally in southwest Ahvaz, where thousands of people packed into the stadium with no social distancing and spotty masking. After Raisi’s rivals criticized the rally, the national task force said that Raisi violated the health protocols, which included a two-hour time limit on public events. Raisi subsequently canceled two other large rallies.
Candidates packed their schedules with smaller rallies and meetings with targeted constituencies, such as farmers, first-time voters, teachers, medical workers and taxi drivers. Three candidates—Abdolnasser Hemati, Mohsen Mehralizadeh and Mohsen Rezaei—also used Clubhouse, a new audio app, to speak directly to voters. Clubhouse allows thousands of users to enter a virtual chatroom. The following is a sampling of photos from the campaign by the final four candidates in alphabetical order.
Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi
On June 15, Raisi met with educators and athletes at the Sarcheshmeh Martyrs Cultural Complex in Tehran. Raisi waved to the crowd while standing in front of a banner with a photo of himself and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left). Young women posed with posters of Raisi (right).
On June 7, Raisi held a rally at the Grand Mosque of Varamin in Tehran Province. Hundreds attended (left). On June 9, he held a mass rally in Ahvaz. Attendees held up posters of Raisi as well as General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Qods Force who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2020 (right).
On June 15, Rezaei addressed a group of female voters at Diba Complex in Tehran.
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