Tehran, Dec. 2 (Reuters): Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said today women in Iran should be allowed to run for President despite the fact that they have been barred from standing for the post since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran’s constitution says the President should be an Iranian, a Muslim and a “rejal”, meaning “an eminent person”. Although the gender of rejal is ambiguous, Iran’s clerical rulers have said it refers only to men. “Women are allowed to run for the presidency and ‘rejal’ refers to both sexes,” Ebadi said. Iran’s next presidential vote is in 2005.
The Guardian Council, a powerful 12-member body dominated by hardline clerics, disqualified women who registered to run in previous presidential elections. Women in Iran enjoy better rights than in some other West Asian countries. There is a female vice-president and 13 deputies in the 290-member parliament are women.
But Ebadi, Iran’s first female judge before the Islamic revolution, said women should seek a greater share of power and keep fighting for equal rights.