Iran clerics object to women ministers

TEHRAN — Iran’s conservative clerics have objected to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to include three women in his new cabinet, a report said on Saturday, dealing a blow to the hardliner’s bid to secure parliament’s nod for his ministerial line-up.

Ahmadinejad named Sousan Keshvaraz, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi and Fatemeh Ajorlou as his ministers respectively of education, health, and welfare and social security in his 21-member cabinet.

“Although it is a new idea to choose women as ministers, there are religious doubts over the abilities of women when it comes to management. This should be considered by the government,” Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, the head of the clerics’ faction in the 290-member conservative-dominated Iranian parliament was quoted as saying by the conservative daily Tehran Emrouz.

He said the faction will seek the opinion of the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the issue.

Ahmadinejad’s proposed cabinet, which boasts 11 new names including the three women, will face a vote of confidence on August 30.

Rahbar said leading Iranian clerics such as Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi and Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayghani too wanted Ahmadinejad to reconsider his decision regarding the three women.

The nomination of females to the cabinet marks a first in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic, although in 1997 then reformist president Mohammad Khatami appoi… >>>

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