January 28, 2020
An outspoken reformist lawmaker on Monday alleged that middlemen ask for up to $300,000 in bribes to help candidates in parliamentary elections to be approved for the race by the election watchdog, the hardliner Guardian Council.
In a tweet on Monday, without further elaboration, Mahmoud Sadeqi (Sadeghi) said: “In this round of elections middlemen have on some occasions demanded up to 40 billion rials (about $300,000) [to ensure the candidate is] approved. What a parliament it is going to be!”
Sadeqi and some other well-known members of parliament including conservative Ali Motahari have not been approved by the Guardian Council to run in the upcoming elections. Both of them were noticeably vocal at the Majles during the past four years. Sadeqi is known for his support for human rights.
In December 2018, Sadeqi made similar allegations after which the Guardian Council said they would sue him for libel. However, at the time the bribe money he said was demanded by middlemen was 6 billion rials (roughly $50,000). Sadeqi says there are other would-be candidates with a similar experience who are prepared to testify to the same effect.
On July 30, 2019 Mohammad-Taher Kanani, a lawyer who has three times been disqualified by the Guardian Council for the Assembly of Experts and Parliamentary elections, was quoted by Etemad Online as saying that he had also been approached by middlemen. They claimed they had “influence in the Guardian Council”, Kanani said and claimed the middlemen had asked him to pay $6 billion rials ($50,000) to get his candidacy approved.