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Iranian cleric says women can't be president

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2013 at 9:14 am •  Published: May 16, 2013

While women have greater freedom in Iran than many other countries in the region, particularly Saudi Arabia and neighboring Afghanistan, it is widely believed that the wording of the constitution closes the door on the presidency.

It says the president will be elected from religious-political men, or "rijal," a plural for man in Arabic that is common in Farsi, too.

Presumed candidates include former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is backed by pro-reform groups, and rivals supported by the ruling clerics such as top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati.

A major question is whether the Guardian Council will clear Ahmadinejad's choice, close aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. His chances are severely hampered by his association with Ahmadinejad, who has fallen out of favor with the ruling theocracy over his challenges to the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.