Rouhani names female VPs after all-male cabinet criticism



Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday responded to criticism of his all-male cabinet by naming three women to senior positions in his administration.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

‍Massoumeh Ebtekar, a spokesperson during the 1980 US embassy hostage crisis, has been named as vice president in charge of women's affairs.

Laya Joneydi was appointed as the vice president for legal affairs, while Shahindokht Mowlaverdi was named as a special adviser for citizens' rights.

Rouhani comfortably defeated hardline opponent Ebrahim Raisi in May, backed by reformists after vowing to improve civil liberties and rebuild ties with the West.

The 68-year-old moderate focused on women's rights and promised equal opportunities if he was re-elected. However, even the appointment of three women vice presidents only matched the female representation during his first term government.

The lack of any women among Rouhani's new ministers on Tuesday came as a disappointment to his reformist allies, who accused him of giving in to more conservative voices.

Rouhani nominated men to fill 17 of 18 ministerial slots in his second-term government, leaving one post vacant.

The re-elected president is tasked with balancing popular pressure for reform with the wishes of conservative power blocs.