BEIRUT — After securing one woman on his Cabinet, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is pushing for a second, defying opposition from hardline Islamic clerics who say women have no place in leadership positions.
His push for the first female Cabinet members since the 1979 Islamic Revolution may say more about Ahmadinejad’s peculiar renegade position in Iran’s leadership than any agenda to promote women’s rights, say critics, who denounce his female nominees as reflections of his “anti-woman” policies.
The populist leader has shown a willingness to buck traditional powers — even in his own
conservative camp — to get his way. In this case, opponents say, he wants to paint himself as a proponent of women after coming under heavy criticism for a heavy crackdown his government has waged against women’s rights activists.