[QODLink]
Middle East

Iran rejects women presidential hopefuls

Member of council that vets candidates for the post says constitution does not allow a woman to run for presidency.

Last Modified: 17 May 2013 08:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Iranian Atrat Kazemi is one of at least 30 women who have registered as candidates for the presidency [AFP]

A member of Iran's constitutional watchdog group has said women cannot be presidential candidates, effectively killing the largely symbolic bids by about 30 women seeking to run in the June 14 election.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi as saying on Thursday that the "law does not approve'' of a woman in the presidency and a woman on the ballot is "not allowed".

The Guardian Council, where Yazdi is a member, vets all candidates for the presidency and parliament.

A total of 686 people have registered to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run for a third mandate because of term limits.

The final list will be announced on May 21, with only a handful of names expected on the ballot.

Even before the comments by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, chances for a woman candidate in Iran's presidential election were considered nearly impossible.

Women also have registered as potential candidates in past presidential elections, but the Guardian Council appears to follow interpretations of the constitution that suggest only a man may hold Iran's highest elected office.

Constitution's wording

Women are cleared to run for Iran's parliament and have served as legislators.

While women have greater freedom in Iran than many other countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Afghanistan, it is widely believed that the wording of the constitution closes the door on the presidency.

It says the president will be elected from religious-political men, or "rijal,'' a plural for man in Arabic that is common in Farsi, too.

Presumed candidates include former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is backed by pro-reform groups, and rivals supported by the ruling ayatollahs such as Saeed Jalili, the top nuclear negotiator; Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Tehran mayor's; and Ali Akbar Velayati, the former foreign minister.

A major question is whether the Guardian Council will clear Ahmadinejad's choice, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who is also his close aide.

Mashaei's chances are severely hampered by his association with Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out of favour with the ruling theocracy over his challenges to the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.

323

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list