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Asia-pacific

Presidential hopeful vows to improve women's rights

©

Latest update : 2009-06-10

Iranian presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi (pictured) vowed on Saturday to "review all laws which are deemed discriminatory and unfair to women by introducing the needed bills in the parliament."

AFP - Iranian presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed on Saturday to review laws which are "unfair" towards women if he wins next month's election.
  
In a speech to around 1,500 women at a sports complex in southern Tehran, Mousavi said he will "review all laws which are deemed discriminatory and unfair to women by introducing the needed bills in the parliament."
  
Addressing a cheering crowd of women screaming "Mousavi! Mousavi!", the moderate candidate, who served as prime minister during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, said he would work to towards taking the moral police patrols off the streets if elected in the June 12 poll.
  
Over the past few years, such patrols have strictly enforced the Islamic dress code on women in Iran and especially in Tehran.
  
Women who are deemed inappropriately dressed are usually hauled to a detention centre where they must sign a pledge, promising to dress properly.
  
Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, also spoke to the crowd as people chanted: "Remove the moral police!".
  
Clad in a traditional black chador and a colourful scarf, Rahnavard said: "We should prepare the ground for an Iran where women are treated without discrimination."
  
"We should reform laws that treat women unequally. We should empower women financially, women should be able to choose their professions according to their merits, and Iranian women should be able to reach the highest level of decision making bodies."
  
The crowd was also addressed by high profile speaker Masoumeh Ebtekar, the first Iranian woman to be appointed as a vice president under the presidency of Mohammad Khatami between 1997-2005.
  
She urged Mousavi to improve women rights in Iran.
  
"We ask you (Mousavi) to make the change," she said.
  
Mousavi has emerged as the main challenger in the June election to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is seeking a second term in office.
  
Mehdi Karoubi, a reformist former speaker of parliament, and Mohsen Rezai, a conservative who previously headed the Revolutionary Guards, are also standing.

Date created : 2009-05-31

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