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Khamenei advises Iranian women to avoid feminism in their campaign

Tehran, Oct 6, IRNA -- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei here Saturday asked the Iranian women to avoid feminism and sexism in their campaign for better female rights.

"In the process of raising women issues and solving their problems, feminist inclinations and sexism should be avoided," he told a group of female parliamentarians.

The leader called for attention to the 'main' issues of women, citing 'a modification in the general attitude of the society toward the basic issues facing women' as one of them.

"The second main responsibility is to rectify current laws concerning women," Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding seminaries should take the arena in this effect 'with a new attitude in line with the country's expedience'.

"Peripheral issues should be avoided in raising women affairs," he added.

The Supreme Leader praised Iranian women for their role in the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, saying they should be given the chance to take up the posts which comply with their instinctive features.

"The Almighty God has gifted women with an invaluable treasure of love, peace and kindness. They should serve in the posts that do not contradict with their instinctive features," he said.

Islam looks at men and women as complementing each other and negates discrimination as far as their basic rights are concerned, Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The leader said that the Islamic Republic has promoted the standing of women, specifying their role in various fields.

Iranian female deputies have appealed for greater female involvement in politics, especially after President Mohammad Khatami's landslide victory in 1997.

For the first time since the Islamic Revolution, a woman was appointed this year as deputy governor of the nation's 10-million strong capital Tehran.

President Khatami has also named Masoumeh Ebtekar, one of his vice presidents, in charge of the environment at the beginning of his first term in 1997.

In June, two female MPs said they were offended by a top-ranking male MP's comments about women serving in government.

The female politicians, among 11 serving in parliament after June eighth national elections, were reacting to comments from a Tehran MP Mohsen Armin.

Armin had said "it was not dignified for women to be put on display in government." The words provoked a storm among female politicians.

"Our women want their rights ... And today, we are determined to obtain them and not as Armin has said to put ourselves 'on display'," Fatemeh Khatami, an MP from northeastern city of Mashhad said.

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