World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran is to appoint its first female ambassador since the 1979 Islamic revolution, marking a breakthrough for women in government under the moderate president,Hassan Rouhani.
Marzieh Afkham, who is the country’s first foreign ministry spokeswoman, will head a mission in east Asia, the state news agency reported. It is not clear to which country she will be posted as her appointment has yet to be announced officially.
This would make Afkham the second female ambassador in the history of Iran and the first since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The only other female ambassador was Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, who served in Denmark in the 1970s.
Under the last shah’s rule, Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, a three-time MP known for her advocacy of the family protection law, which gave women the right of divorce and child custody, became an ambassador to Denmark in 1976, a post she held until the revolution.
Women in Iran need the permission of their husband or legal custodian, such as their father, to travel abroad. The government is also reluctant to promote women who are single and not married. Afkham was reported to have married last year.
Rouhani's predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed the Islamic Republic's first female minister in 2009.