The Islamic Doctorate credentials of all candidates were approved by the Guardian Council using written and oral (interview) examinations. Some members of the Council were also candidates. Although there were a few women mujtahids applying for candidacy, they could not pass the examination. The number of candidates which passed the examination was so low that the council had to lower the passing mark several times. There were initially 144 candidates for the 86 available seats. This was later increased, and according to Islamic Republic News Agency there were 181 qualified candidates. However, the number of candidates on the day of election was 165, and for the first time there were two non-cleric doctor of Islam candidate, although they were not elected.