Compromising videos show hypocrisy of Iranian politicians
Leaked videos circulated in August that show two Iranian politicians in compromising situations with women who are not their wives have drawn accusations of hypocrisy from Iranian social media users.
The videos, which show the politicians having sex, kissing and smoking hookah with the women, show the double standard of the Iranian regime, which punishes people for minor infractions such as not adhering to the dress code.
Ali Mohammad Ahmadi, former governor of the south-western province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, appears in two of the videos, posted online on August 4th and August 6th, with a woman who is not his wife.
In one of the videos, which appears to have been filmed with a hidden camera, the couple has sexual relations, while in the other they talk and kiss, according to The Observers, a TV show on France 24.
Ahmadi has close ties to the government of President Hassan Rouhani.
In a video posted August 9th, another politician -- Abbas Malekzadeh, who serves as mayor of Sadra city in the southern province of Fars -- is shown caressing a naked woman in a video he filmed himself.
Other photos and video clips of Malekzadeh show him smoking hookah with a woman, days after he had been arrested on corruption charges.
The actions of these men show the Iranian regime's hypocrisy in punishing ordinary people for various minor infractions, said Iranian activist Sarbedar An, a graduate of the University of Tehran.
Some girls are beaten on the street for failing to adhere to the dress code, she told Al-Mashareq, noting that with the posting of the scandalous videos of Iranian officials, people can see this double standard for themselves.
The leaked videos "expose the falsity of their claims with regard to spreading Islam and its teachings", she said.
These videos went viral on social media, drawing thousands of comments from Iranians, she said, which "underscores the importance of exposing these facts".
This is especially important as Ahmadi is set to run in the upcoming legislative elections, she said, while Malekzadeh is dogged by suspicions of corruption.
"As soon as the videos emerged, the regime was quick to resort to lies and [began] conducting misinformation campaigns using false illogical justifications to cover up the scandal," said Hossein Shayan, who hails from Tehran.
Iranian politicians have typically shielded themselves from public criticism "with an aura of honour" and claiming they never commit religious violations, he told Al-Mashareq.
"Now that this aura has been broken, the Iranian people will come after them to uncover their hidden truth," he said, noting that "things are different now".