A member of a watchdog group in Iran said that women could not run as a presidential candidate, which effectively killed the bids of close to 30 women who were seeking to be on the ballot for the election on June 14. The bids by the women were largely symbolic, but the decision by officials was disheartening nonetheless.
The new agency Mehr, which is semiofficial, announced that the Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi said Thursday that the laws do not approve of females in the presidency and therefore no woman is allowed to be on the ballot.
Yazdi is a member of the Guardian Council, which vets candidates for the parliament and the presidency. In all 686 people have signed up to run to replace the current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who by law is not allowed more than two terms as president.
On May 21, the final ballot listing will be released, with just a handful of the over 685 names expected to appear.
Even prior to Ayatollah Yazdi’s comments, the chance a woman could be a candidate for the presidency in Iran were considered next to impossible.
Women have been registering as presidential candidates over the last few elections, but the country’s Guardian Council follows interpretations in the constitution that make suggestions that only males can hold the highest elected office in Iran.
Women are allowed to run for the parliament in Iran and some have served in the country’s legislature. While females in Iran enjoy greater freedoms than in many countries in the area, particularly in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, it is believed on a large scale that wording found in the country’s constitution closes women out of the presidency.