Amid criticism, Iran's Rouhani appoints three female VPs

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Aug. 9, 2017 at 9:53 AM
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Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Three women have been appointed to vice presidency positions in Iran's government -- following recent criticism over President Hassan Rouhani's all-male cabinet.

Rouhani made the VP appointments of Masumeh Ebtekar for family and women's affairs, Laya Joneydi for legal affairs and Shahindokht Mowlaverdi for civil rights. Ebtekar and Mowlaverdi were vice presidents in Rouhani's first government.

The inclusion of female cabinet ministers was a central point in Rouhani's second-term election campaign during the spring, and reformists suggested the lack of diversity in the new cabinet is a sign that Rouhani has been influenced by the country's religious establishment, BBC News reported Wednesday.

Only one woman has been appointed to a cabinet position since Iran's 1979 revolution -- former health minister Marzieh Dastjerdi, who served from 2009 to 2013.

The twelve vice presidents, each with a specific agency, are regarded as lower in status than the 18 cabinet ministers -- but all are part of Rouhani's cabinet.

Rouhani was sworn in for a new term on Saturday. The new ministers and vice presidents must be approved by Tehran's Parliament.

In all, 17 cabinet ministers were named. All are male and none are Sunni Muslims. Sunnis comprise about 10 percent of Iran's Shia-dominated population.

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