Tehran, Jan 4 (EFE).- Iran’s Supreme Leader said Wednesday that the Islamic republic wanted to boost female participation in various “decision-making” posts as Tehran continues its bloody crackdown against a wave of unprecedented anti-regime protests demanding more freedoms for women.
Ali Hosseini Khamenei was speaking at a meeting with a group of Iranian women being held ahead of National Women’s Day, which takes place in Iran on February 24, the birthday of the daughter of the prophet Mohammad, Fatima.
“God willing, the meeting here today will have numerous benefits for our future and our way of thinking,” Khamenei said at the gathering, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.
The Iranian leader said the government was looking to boost the employment of “intelligent, skilled, experienced, knowledgeable, scholarly, wise, and perceptive women in different places in the country where decisions are made.”
“This is an important matter,” he added.
Khameini also accused “patriarchal” Western nations of oppressing women and of committing “crimes against their honor and dignity.”
“Unlike the deeply patriarchal Western capitalist system, in Islam, both men and women are important in some issues and have [equal] legal, intellectual, theoretical and practical privileges,” he said, according to his official website.
The meeting comes at a critical time for the regime, after a wave of protests spread across the country following last year’s death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Amini was arrested on September 13 for allegedly not wearing her head scarf correctly. She died three days later.
The Iranian leader also addressed the use of the hijab at Wednesday’s meeting, saying that it was a religious obligation for women to wear a head covering.
The protests that have gripped Iran are carried out mainly by young people and women chanting anti-government slogans and burning veils.
Security forces have violently cracked down on the unrest, and the authorities are rolling out internet blockades in an attempt to sever communications between protesters.
At least 476 people have been killed in the police crackdown and 100 face execution, death penalty charges or sentences, according to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights. EFE