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Home >> World
UPDATED: 18:11, June 02, 2005
Iranian women protest against presidential candidacy disqualification
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A group of Iranian women staged a protest against the disqualification of all women candidates from the upcoming presidential election, the official IRNA news agency reported Thursday.

The demonstrators, members of Iran's Women Activists Movement, rallied Wednesday in front of the Presidential Office, the report said.

Iran's Guardian Council, the country's legislation and election supervisory body, recently barred 89 women candidates from running for presidency with the explanation that they were "incompetent".

The protestors termed the disqualification "a clear discrimination", saying the Guardian Council ignored women's lawful rights.

"According to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, which the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to observe, no one can be deprived of civil and political rights because of gender," a demonstrator was quoted as saying.

The protestors also warned in a declaration that they would call on women to boycott the election due on June 17.

"When women, half of the country's population, can not enjoy their natural right to be elected as president, they should not be expected to participate in the election either," they said.

"As long as the Guardian Council would not present a transparent, scientific and forensic interpretation on the constitution the protest would continue," they added.

Under Iran's constitution, president candidates must be religious and political "rejal", a loanword from Arabic which can be interpreted as both "man" and "personalities".

For the past 25 years, the hardline Guardian Council has barred women from running for presidency according to the "male" interpretation.

On Jan. 22, it was reported that the Guardian Council had allowed female citizens to participate in the presidential election, but the supervisory body soon denied the report, saying they still believe Rejal means men.

The Guardians Council has approved eight candidates to stand in the 9th presidential election.

They are former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi, Vice President Mohsen Mehralizadeh, former Higher Education Minister Mostafa Moin and four conservatives, including former police chief Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, former state broadcasting body chief Ali Larijani, Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezaei.

Source: Xinhua

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