Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head of Iran’s Expediency Council, has expressed his support for the widespread participation of women in the political arena, dismissing the restrictions on their activities as “dogma.”

ILNA reports that the moderate cleric stressed that women comprise half of the country’s population and, in view of recent progress in education, they can have “an effective presence” in every field.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani maintained that the term used in the constitution for political figures includes women as well as men, implying that women could also run for president.

Hashemi Rafsanjani claimed “some fanatical groups and individuals in society have a mistaken view of the place of women in society, and this has no bearing on the Islamic system.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader and several other hardliners have emphatically denied the possibility that women could run for the Islamic Republic presidency.