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A Top Ayatollah Says Many Iran Parliamentarians Are Ignorant

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of Iran's Assembly of Experts, addresses its members during a session in Tehran, March 13, 2018

The 91-year-old chairman of Iran’s conservative watchdog says some members of parliament are not sufficiently literate and have not read the constitution “even once”.

Ahmad Jannati who has long served as the head of Iran’s Guardian Council (GC) accused some members of parliament of ignorance about “the most basic issues”, at a gathering on December 19. He proposed that elected person receive training before assuming their office.

The Guardian Council is a constitutional body whose most important task is to vet candidates for elected office. The GC routinely disqualifies thousands of prospective candidates in Iran’s parliamentary and other elections. Most of the country’s experienced politicians and experts have been disqualified over the years.

For this reason, political factions usually propose unknown individuals as candidates to avoid the disqualification trap.

The main criterion for GC in passing judgement on candidates seems to be loyalty of individuals to the Islamic regime.

Many have taken to the social media to criticize Jannati’s remarks or even make fun of him. Abbas Abdi says in a tweet, “Mr. Jannati, you can’t get any better [candidates] when you have the Guardian Council filter in place”.