Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Wired News | Woman MP Rafat Bayat Wants to Run for President in Iran

Wired News | Woman MP Wants to Run for President in Iran: "
Woman MP Wants to Run for President in Iran

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 8:07 a.m. ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A female lawmaker said on Tuesday she wanted to stand in Iran's presidential elections in June, despite the fact no woman has ever been allowed to run for president in the Islamic state.

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

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

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

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

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

Outgoing reformist president Mohammad Khatami appointed just one woman to his cabinet and there are only a dozen female lawmakers in the 290-seat parliament.

Khatami is ineligible to stand for a third consecutive term in the June elections. Political analysts expect his successor to come from a group of more conservative politicians vying for the post."