The United States on Friday steered clear of taking a tough stand on reports that Iran's electoral watchdog appears to have barred women from running in the June 14 presidential elections.
Hardline cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Yazd, a top member of the Guardians Council which is vetting candidates, seemed to have dashed the hopes of some 30 women hopefuls saying “the law prohibits women from being president.”
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have not been allowed to run for the presidency in Iran although they can stand in parliamentary elections.
“We want this to be free and fair. There's a lot of ways to, of course, define that,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
She insisted however “more specifically in terms of how candidates are selected, we don't weigh in on specific candidates... as the government of Iran is picking them.”
“Of course, broadly speaking, we do want women to participate in elections around the world and, you know, rise up in elected office.”
Earlier this week U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman slammed a campaign of “unrelenting repression” ahead of the presidential elections.
She told U.S. lawmakers however that the United States was doing what it can “to encourage voices in Iran to press for the kind of freedom and fair election that Iranian people deserve.”
U.S. takes no stand as women barred from Iran vote