Iran leader backs Islamic laws on women’s rights

Iran leader backs Islamic laws on women’s rights

[JURIST] Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei [official website; BBC profile] has warned that women's rights activists should not attempt to reconcile or replace the Sharia [JURIST news archive] with international conventions or western ideals of women's rights, saying Wednesday that the current Islamic jurisprudence may only be altered if new insight is supported by the Qur'an and Sunnah [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Khamenei's comments, made to a gathering of women ahead of Thursday's celebration of Prophet Mohammad's daughter's birthday, follow Monday's sentencing [Payvand News report] of women's rights activist Delaram Ali to 34 months in prison and 10 lashes for participating in a peaceful protest [JURIST report] in June 2006.

The protest concerned Iran's interpretation of the Sharia, which has been held to require a woman to obtain her male guardian's permission to work or travel, to prohibit women from serving as judges, and to give a woman's testimony only half the value of a man's. Reuters has more.