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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Iran MPs push for women's rights
Iranian women at a reform rally
Women are given half a man's share of their spouse's estate
Iran's outgoing reformist parliament has approved a bill which would grant women equal inheritance rights to men.

The bill must also be backed by a hardline vetting body which has vetoed equal rights legislation in the past.

Under the proposed law, a woman would take all her husband's estate in the absence of other heirs, instead of only half the estate as at present.

The law is one of several, including blood money and sworn testimony, which give women half the legal value of men.

'Step forward'

Currently, the state takes half the couple's estate if a husband dies in the absence of other heirs.

When wives die in the same circumstances, husbands are entitled to the entire estate.

If the couple has children, the wife receives one eighth of the husband's estate, whereas a widowed husband with children takes one quarter.

"This is a big step forward in granting women equal rights to men," reformist lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said.

But correspondents say the reform camp has little prospect of success in persuading the hardline conservative Guardian Council to approve the measures.

The current parliament's term runs out on 27 May, following the reformists' defeat at the hands of conservatives in elections after the Council banned most pro-reform candidates.


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