Iran moves closer to reinstating Zoroastrian city councilor

Al-Monitor- The reinstatement of Sepanta Niknam, who won nearly 22,000 votes in May 2017 for a seat on the city council of Yazd in central Iran, could be just around the corner. The controversial case, protracted for months, has not ceased to grip the attention of Iranian media.

Following his re-election — he had served on the council since 2013 — Niknam’s very candidacy was legally challenged by a defeated local rival. In October, the Guardian Council chaired by hard-line cleric Ali Jannati approved a ruling by the Administrative Court of Justice that suspended Niknam on religious grounds.

The verdict asserted that members of religious minority groups are not authorized to run for seats in Muslim-majority constituencies. Seen by many as a breach of Iran’s Constitution, which recognizes Zoroastrianism and allows members of the community to elect their own representatives, the decision sparked outcries not only from the public but from top officials as well.

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