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Iranian president names three women to government posts after criticism

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Iranian president Hassan Rouhani brought three women into the government on Wednesday, one day after being criticised on social media for submitting an all-male list of cabinet members to parliament for approval.

Massoumeh Ebtekar, head of Iran's Department of Environment in Rouhani's first term, was appointed vice president for women and family affairs.

Laya Joneidi was named vice president for legal affairs while Shahindokht Molaverdi was made the president's assistant for civil rights.

Rouhani had mentioned the importance of women's rights in campaign speeches before the presidential election in May when he was re-elected.

The appointments are likely to tamp down some of the criticism that Rouhani faced from supporters on Tuesday when he failed to announce any female ministers in his cabinet.

One widely-circulated post on social media showed Rouhani with his new all-male cabinet cast in a photo in front of a government building - with a huge moustache photo-shopped onto the building.

"I won't forget how people rallied votes for Rouhani," one critic posted on Twitter in Farsi. "What's happened with this reformist government that we now have to beg just to get one woman in the cabinet?"

Rouhani's hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had just one female minister in his cabinet, though this was opposed by some clerics.


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