The first woman to be appointed ambassador in Iran since 1979

Per la prima volta dal 1979 una donna, la diplomatica Marzieh Afkham, è stata nominata ambasciatrice: rappresenterà la Repubblica Islamica iraniana in Malesia.

For the first time in decades, a woman has been appointed ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She is Marzieh Afkham, 50-year-old diplomat with a political career of over 30 years, embodies a real turning point in the Asian country’s history. From the 1979 revolution, men have always been appointed similar charges.

The decision has been announced on 8 November by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: “Afkham will represent our country in Malaysia”. Since 2013, when the moderate President Hassan Rohani was elected, the diplomat served as spokeswoman of the Foreign Minister. “Choosing Afkham as ambassador took a few minutes but choosing her successor took four months,” Zarif said.


The Minister also explained that the diplomat “had carried out her duties for two years with dignity, bravery and particular insight,” whilst the Iranian diplomacy was an international focus. According to Zarif, this choice demonstrates the “trust in women” and represents an occasion of progress for the Iranian society.


NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: President of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on September 28, 2015 in New York City. The ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis it has spawned are playing a backdrop to this years 70th annual General Assembly meeting of global leaders.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani addresses the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters  ©Spencer Platt/Getty Images


In the aftermath of his election, Rohani in fact asked his ministers not to choose exclusively men for leading positions. He also previously declared to consider gender equality a key point of his mandate: “Discrimination against women will not be tolerated,” he said in April 2014.


However, there’s still a long way to go. Indeed, Iran’s law is way too far from “equal opportunity”, such as for marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Women are allowed to be elected in parliament, but they cannot be lawyers or run for for the election of the president of the republic.


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