Iran ban on woman president stays

A ban on women standing in Iranian presidential elections in June remains in force, a constitutional watchdog body said on Saturday, contradicting earlier reports in the official media.

    Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi will not enter the race

    The Guardian Council spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said there had been no change in the watchdog's interpretation of a key word in the Islamic republic's constitution that has long been taken as referring to men only.
      
    "My comments regarding the Guardian Council and the word rajal have not changed and there is nothing new," Elham told the official IRNA news agency.
      
    As late as Saturday evening, Iranian state television's English-language service had been reporting that the guardians had decided to lift the ban.
      
    The disputed word, which comes from Arabic, could also be interpreted as meaning "personalities" in Persian and this is the translation used in some English translations of the constitution. 

    Iran's constitution says candidates should be political rajal, the Arabic word for men.

    Earlier, Elham was quoted by state television as saying the word could also refer to women.

    "Women who have the necessary qualifications have the right to run in the presidential elections," he told state television.

    June's poll is expected to end Iran's reform movement, with conservatives tipped to extend their grasp on power to the presidency after taking control of parliament in May.

    Iran's 2003 Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi has repeatedly said she has no intention of running for the presidency.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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