Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said on Tuesday the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women will have to be vetted before it becomes law. 

"We have the Guardian Council...to reject the bills which are against Shari'ah. Therefore, there is no need to make a fuss," Karroubi said.

The parliament last week voted in favour of joining the convention but the decision angered imams who staged protest marches in the holy city of Qom on Friday and Saturday.

European pressure

The European Union has insisted Iran sign the convention as part of a human rights dialogue it has with Tehran. 

The convention aims to incorporate the principle of gender equality in the legal system, and abolish all discriminatory laws against women.

But Islamic scholars have argued it is inspired by western notions of equality which are contrary to Islamic tradtion.  

"All these plots are meant to undermine Islam" 

Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani

"This is just like other stereotyped Western slogans like support for human rights, democracy, political prisoners and, very recently, the war on terrorism," Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani said.
   
"All these plots are meant to undermine Islam," he added. 

Female freedoms

And Mohsen Qaravian, a mid-ranking scholar, said that by approving the convention "parliamentarians showed that they have no idea about Islam".
   
"There is no discrimination between men and women in Islam but there are differences," he told the Siyasat-e Ruz newspaper. 

Iranian women enjoy more freedoms than women in many Gulf states.

Last year President Mohammad Khatami appointed a woman as one of his six vice-presidents.