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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 12:13 GMT
Iran women get more divorce rights
Iranian women demonstrating in Tehran
Women MPs had been pushing for a new law
Iran's Guardian Council which vets new legislation has approved a bill giving women greater rights to divorce their husbands, state radio has reported.

Currently Iranian women are allowed to file for divorce only if they have written permission from their spouse.

Alternatively they have to prove that a husband cannot provide for his family, is a drug addict, insane or impotent.

A poster showing a woman in modern type of traditional dress
Women have enjoyed greater freedoms in recent years
However a man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes.

Divorce applications are granted to women at the discretion of an Islamic judge on a case-by-case basis.

Such cases usually drag on for lengthy periods and are costly, correspondents say.

And the judges are almost all men.

Modernisation

Female members of Iranian Parliament had been pressing for a law clarifying when a woman could seek a divorce.

The 12-man Council of Guardians - a panel of clerics and lawyers tasked with ensuring that new legislation complies with Islamic law - rejected a siimilar bill in September on the grounds of ambiguity.

Women are becoming increasingly involved in all spheres of life in Iran as a result of reform and modernisation.

Recently the first woman bus driver began work on an inter-city route, heralding a new era.

See also:

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