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Iran election: Cleric rules out women candidates

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  • Chris King
    16 May 2013 Last updated at 21:23 GMT Iran election: Cleric rules out women candidates Mehan Javid was among those who registered her candidacy for the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2013
      16 May 2013 Last updated at 21:23 GMT

      Iran election: Cleric rules out women candidates

      Mehan Javid was among those who registered her candidacy for the presidential election

      A constitutional body in Iran has ruled that women cannot run in presidential elections scheduled for 14 June.

      Mohammad Yazdi, a clerical member of the Guardian Council, said the constitution ruled out the participation of women.

      Thirty women registered as candidates but there had been little expectation they would be allowed to stand.

      The Guardian Council is charged with vetting election candidates according to their Islamic credentials.

      Observers say there is ambiguity in the constitution about the participation of women in presidential elections in Iran.

      However, the latest interpretation appears to put an end to the debate.

      The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Mr Yazdi as saying that the "law does not approve" of a woman in the presidency and a woman on the ballot is "not allowed".

      Women are able to stand for election to the Iranian parliament and have served as lawmakers.

      Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot run for a third term under the constitution and a total of 686 people have registered to replace him.

      The final list of candidates will be announced on Tuesday, with only a handful of names expected on the ballot.

      In the previous elections of 2009, 475 hopefuls registered but the Guardian Council only gave its approval to four.

      The results of those elections were disputed by the opposition, triggering mass street protests.

      Reformist candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were detained and remain under house arrest.

      Iran rejects women presidential hopefuls

      Member of council that vets candidates for the post says constitution does not allow a woman to run for presidency.

      Last Modified: 17 May 2013 08:06

      Iranian Atrat Kazemi is one of at least 30 women who have registered as candidates for the presidency [AFP]

      A member of Iran's constitutional watchdog group has said women cannot be presidential candidates, effectively killing the largely symbolic bids by about 30 women seeking to run in the June 14 election.

      The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi as saying on Thursday that the "law does not approve'' of a woman in the presidency and a woman on the ballot is "not allowed".

      The Guardian Council, where Yazdi is a member, vets all candidates for the presidency and parliament.

      A total of 686 people have registered to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run for a third mandate because of term limits.

      The final list will be announced on May 21, with only a handful of names expected on the ballot.

      Even before the comments by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, chances for a woman candidate in Iran's presidential election were considered nearly impossible.

      Women also have registered as potential candidates in past presidential elections, but the Guardian Council appears to follow interpretations of the constitution that suggest only a man may hold Iran's highest elected office.

      Constitution's wording

      Women are cleared to run for Iran's parliament and have served as legislators.

      While women have greater freedom in Iran than many other countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Afghanistan, it is widely believed that the wording of the constitution closes the door on the presidency.

      It says the president will be elected from religious-political men, or "rijal,'' a plural for man in Arabic that is common in Farsi, too.

      Presumed candidates include former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is backed by pro-reform groups, and rivals supported by the ruling ayatollahs such as Saeed Jalili, the top nuclear negotiator; Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Tehran mayor's; and Ali Akbar Velayati, the former foreign minister.

      A major question is whether the Guardian Council will clear Ahmadinejad's choice, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who is also his close aide.

      Mashaei's chances are severely hampered by his association with Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out of favour with the ruling theocracy over his challenges to the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.

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