Former Vice President and current chief of staff to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie has called for instituting more rights for women in Iran. Rahim-Mashaie has been under relentless criticism from the extreme right since Ahmadinejad’s re-election last year, reports Reuters.
“Today women play an important role in our society and the current situation of our society is not comparable to the past centuries and decades,” Rahim-Mashaie reportedly told Iranian newspapers on Wednesday. “We should try to guarantee women’s rights where our religious framework allows us. The legislative system should act in a way to take the rights of women into consideration more than ever,” according to Reuters.
Last year Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei forced President Ahmadinejad to dismiss Rahim-Mashaie from his job as First Vice President following outrage from conservatives at his suggestion that Iran was a friend to all nations. Ahmadinejad then appointed Rahim-Mashaie to Chief of Staff and then several other positions, including Middle East Policy Adviser.
Rahim-Mashaie’s comments were made as Iran’s parliament debates a law, which could give a man the right to take up to three other wives without the consent of his existing spouse. Current law requires that consent be given by the first wife.