'New era'

"With the tenth presidential election, we have entered a new era ... conditions [have] changed completely and the government will see major changes," Ahmadinejad told state television.

Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Iranian capaital, Tehran, said: "It’s very important that Ahmedinejad has kept his promises. He's been a supporter of women's rights in his own way.

"It will be a step forward for women empowerment in Iran, but I'm sure he'll face more disapproval from some of his conservative supporters."

In depth

The latest on Iran's post-election unrest

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Hournaz Beheshti, an Iranian journalist, told Al Jazeera the appointment of women candidates was a reaction to the protests that followed Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election.

"I guess it is a political move ... We all know that Mr Ahmadinejad has done some unwise actions and he has been criticised by political figures. I feel he needed to do something to calm the situation," she said.

Beheshti said she doubts the women would be approved by parliament "given the fact that the majority of the MPs are conservative men".

The June 12 election returned Ahmadinejad to power for a second term, but the opposition insists the vote was rigged.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, a reformist presidential candidate, and Mehdi Karroubi, another opposition candidate, led protests in the wake of the election, sparking a major crackdown by the police.

General indictment

Ahmadinejad's cabinet announcement coincided with the third trial of opposition supporters accused of sparking unrest following the June 12 election.

Iranian state media said at least 25 more opposition supporters and activists went on trial in Tehran on Sunday, facing charges of stirring up mass protests.

Prosecutors read a general indictment for the group, accusing them of plotting the unrest for years, Iran's IRNA news agency reported.

Defence lawyers have said the accusations are much stronger than their clients' actual crimes, our correspondent said.

"Eleven people have defended themselves so far. Almost every single one of them has denied the very serious charges against them," said Ronaghi.

Sunday's hearing marked the third mass trial for more than 100 prominent opposition supporters and activists accused of offences ranging from rioting to spying and seeking to topple Iran's rulers.