Two women announce plans to run for Iranian presidency

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Two Iranian women on Wednesday announced their candidacies for the presidency in elections on June 14.


The hopefuls are 45-year-old housewife Razieh Omidvar, a trained economist, and university professor Soraya Malekzadeh, also 45. Both told journalists in Tehran that their priority would be to combat astronomical inflation.

It is unclear, however, whether women are allowed to run at all in presidential polls as there are some ambiguities both in the constitution and election law.

According to the constitution and election law, the person eligible to register as a presidential candidate should be a "rejal" – an Arabic term for both distinguished men as well as VIPs.

There have been numerous discussions in recent years on whether the term "rejal" could also be associated with and adopted for women.

In the 34 years since the Islamic revolution no woman has ever seriously been considered for the presidential post, and hence those debates did not yield any concrete results.


continue to source article at news-republic.com

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  1. I guess we’ll soon find out for certain (there has been considerable doubt) whether women in Iran are considered Very Important Persons (VIPs) or simply your run-o-the-mill gatecrasher type of person. As they used to say in the old Islamic republic: your sex aint down, you aint comin’ in!

    • In reply to #3 by Stafford Gordon:

      Why do they have to give womens’ ages?

      Anyway, good luck to them; they’re going to need it!

      Yeah, and why announce that one of them is a ‘housewife’? All we need to know is that she is an economist. The term elicits an image of a woman in an apron with a broom.

  2. Hmm. Not sure if want.
    Strategically speaking, forcing one national improvement on right-wingnuts means they dig their heals in about everything else. While this is an important issue to resolve, Iran is hardly the worst place for women to live in, even in the middle east, and this issue is hardly Iran’s biggest problem.

  3. I’m surprised at the overall lackluster comments here. There chances of winning are slim, but what they are doing moves all women forward. People recognize a step forward and will respond – usually in a counter way. On the sidelines, a young woman is watching…………..I say YOU GO GIRLS! KICK BUTT!

    “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

    ― Sheng Wang

    • In reply to #7 by QuestioningKat:

      I’m surprised at the overall lackluster comments here. There chances of winning are slim, but what they are doing moves all women forward. People recognize a step forward and will respond – usually in a counter way. On the sidelines, a young woman is watching…………..I say YOU GO GIRLS! KICK BU…

      I agree. What they are doing is amazing. The details of the Iranian Green Revolution often go unreported in the US press at least. Its so easy to forget that there are large numbers of Iranians who don’t like the current government and want a more democratic secular alternative and are willing to risk jail, beatings, and worse to try and get it.

      As far as the election goes though keep in mind that the last election in Iran was essentially ignored. Ahmadinejad should not still be prime minister. He lost the election but the mullahs just ignored it and kept him in power anyway. I forget the name of the guy who almost certainly was the real winner. He was no saint either, but definitely an improvement over Ahmadinejad. So while I think these women may have a chance in a fair election I doubt they will in the current climate, but sometimes even a symbolic loss can have significant impact.

  4. From article above:

    According to the constitution and election law, the person eligible to register as a presidential candidate should be a “rejal” – an Arabic term for both distinguished men as well as VIPs.

    Why would the Constitution of Iran be written in Arabic? It’s not their official language.

    Wiki says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingua_franca

    Article 15 of the Iranian constitution states that the “Official language (of Iran)… is Persian…[and]… the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in addition to Persian.” Persian serves as a lingua franca in Iran and most publications and broadcastings are in this language.
    Next to Persian, there are many publications and broadcastings in other relatively popular languages of Iran such as Azerbaijani, Kurdish and even in less popular ones such as Arabic and Armenian. Many languages originated in Iran, but Persian is the most used language.

    However, if their Constitution states that the President must be a rejal then it’s up to the Shia Muslim clerics to creatively interpret the hell out of this word as they are famously known for doing with wording in the Koran that is either inconvenient or uncomfortable.

  5. I agree with the point made by QuestioningKat above. The fact that these women have the guts to run for election to this high office is critically important for women’s rights in Iran. Granted, they may not win this particular election, but when more and more women run for office on entry level positions and begin to win there then those women will move up to higher office and at some point it won’t seem newsworthy at all when a woman runs for office and wins in that place. (I hope I live to see the day, and that includes my own country too)

    Also I will grant that we can’t count on any one woman to win political office and proceed to make social changes that soften the effect of Sharia law. Plenty of women everywhere are fundamentalist hardliners and feel that it’s their duty to enforce subjugation of women in their own domains. We have plenty of that here in America with our Christian fundy females as well. It’s particularly depressing when any woman anywhere advocates that we volunteer ourselves for domestic and reproductive slavery. The goal in this case is to have a fair representation of women in positions of political power and that they will work cooperatively with their consensus seeking skills to improve the quality of life for everyone in their society.

    Something that most people agree on is that the best hope we have for a reformation movement within Islam to happen is if the nascent Muslim feminist movement expands in a grass root way and grows some serious teeth in that society and starts making demands that result in secular legal reform. Moving qualified women into political positions, and into the administrative and high educational positions in University, and positions of leadership in business and industry will have a tremendous counter-revolutionary effect in that place.

    Not to beat a dead donkey here (Mods I feel your presence) but this is what many of us are hoping for. On certain other threads, some of us have expressed negative opinions of the breast baring tactics of Femen which we consider to be of no practical use or even counter productive to the greater good. I’m not trying to revive that specific discussion, but I want to point out the difference in tactics as far as what actually works and gets results and what ends up being a media blitz flash in the pan with some immediate results that are unacceptable risks to brave individuals who have so much to offer in the fight to improve this worldwide problem.

    • In reply to #9 by LaurieB:

      I agree with the point made by QuestioningKat above. The fact that these women have the guts to run for election to this high office is critically important for women’s rights in Iran. Granted, they may not win this particular election, but when more and more women run for office on entry level posi…

      I was rushing to the end of this great post to click like and tell you such. But…the final paragraph is mean spirited in my view. Amina’s protest was perfectly targeted and executed, identifying exactly what she wished to take back control of and why. Still. No more from me here on this.

      Your second to last paragraph though is bang on the money and as you suggest can surely draw all of us together in agreement. A full sufficiency of educated women in positions of power is the only real chance I suspect we have to solve the problem of ridiculously polarised and culturally crippled societies.

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