The purpose of this article is to explain the status of women in the Iranian Constitution. The methods of the study are legal analysis along with a systemic and holistic approach. The findings indicate that the status and the rights of women have been unequivocally articulated in the Iranian Constitution in Articles 10 and 21 and the responsibilities for the government have been assumed in this regard. Regarding the basic rights like the right for education, the right for dwelling and the right for employment and so on, women have been included by using the general terms such as “everyone”. However, there are some ambiguities concerning the issue of women’s political participation. There is a serious ambiguity with reference to the qualifications required for the presidency. According to Article 115, the president of the Republic must be elected from among the religious and political elite. The word used in the Persian text for the “political elite” is the Arabic word “Rajol” which literally means “men” in Persian. However, according to some interpretations the word Rajol has been used as an umbrella term to refer to “political figures”. These two interpretations have been the source of arguments regarding the rights of women to return and appoint for the presidency. Although some Iranian jurists emphasize the second interpretation and their reasons have been mentioned in this article, the failure of the Guardian Council of the Constitution to adopt a clear and straightforward stance concerning this issue has denied women of their rights for the presidential nomination. In addition to the practical interpretations presented by the Iranian jurists, the author believes that the confusion can be solved by resorting to the rule Taghlib. It seems that part of the problem lies in the practical interpretation of the terms, which has resulted in the confusion and has been the source of discrimination between Iranian men and women. Another finding of this study is that although the Iranian Constitution reflects most of the ideals of liberal Constitutional law, it adjusts more to the institutional Constitutional law. For example, in the section of women's rights, the emphasis is on the family as a unit and not just on the individual woman as an autonomous human with different personal freedoms.

Author Biography

Gholamreza ZakerSalehi is a researcher in Educational Studies and an Associate Professor in the Institute for Research and Planning in higher education; he was head of the department of Comparative Studies and now is occupied as a consultant. His fields of study include higher education sociology, science and technology, policymaking and the right to education. He has published books numerous books in Persian.