Rafat Bayat said on Tuesday she wanted to stand in Iran's presidential elections in June even though no woman has ever been allowed to run for president in the Islamic state.

"Governing a country needs someone with revolutionary ideas based on Islamic laws and an understanding of people's problems ... These are qualities both men and women can have," she told the semi-official Fars news agency.

The right denied

The Guardian Council watchdog, a panel of clerics and jurists which vets the suitability of election candidates, in January reiterated its constitutional interpretation that only men could stand for president.

Iranian women have voted in
the past two general elections

Bayat said she hoped the council would change its mind and allow her to compete in the 17 June vote.

Reformist clerics and politicians agree with Bayat and have repeatedly challenged the council's opinion, saying women should be allowed to run for president, but to no avail.

Iranian women enjoy better rights than women in many neighbouring countries, but are poorly represented in senior public positions.