after sex tape allegation, Candidate steps aside in Iraq
A candidate for an Iraqi Parliament seat has dropped her run for office amid a swirl of attention over what she asserts is a “fabricated” sex tape, a clip that went viral across Iraq.
Intidhar Ahmed Jassim had been a candidate in the political coalition of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
A nearly three-minute clip appeared Wednesday on social media, showing a woman and man having sex. The woman’s appearance, voice and what she said about herself led many viewers to conclude she might be Jassim.
Jassim — a professor at al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad with a Ph.D. in economy and administration — immediately denounced the video, calling it “fabricated” and photoshopped.”
“I am sad for a great nation that believes the rotten fabrications of politicians, aiming at my reputation and publishing fabricated video,” she said.
“Everyone knows my family and knows my husband Dr. Saad Salih al-Hamdani, the professor at Dijla University” in Baghdad, Jassim said. “I am the daughter of your country, professor Intidhar Ahmed Jassim. Please, please don’t listen to rumors.”
But within hours of her Thursday statement, she submitted her withdrawal of candidacy to Iraq’s election commission and resigned from her candidacy in the Victory Coalition.
Hussein al-Adily, the spokesman for the coalition, said the resignation was accepted and the coalition has withdrawn her candidacy.
It’s unknown whether Jassim was under pressure to submit her resignation, but there are several reports that female candidates have been harassed on social media after campaigning started last week.
In her resignation statement, Jassim emphasized the importance of serving her homeland and stressed that she isn’t looking for position or money.
“My biggest post is being a pure Iraqi woman,” Jassim said.
Al-Adily didn’t want to talk about the alleged sex tape or elaborate, citing the issue’s sensitivity.
The Iraqi Constitution requires at least one quarter of the 329 Council of Representatives’ members to be women. Parliamentary elections are set for May 12.