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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 14:01 UK

Women 'to join Iranian cabinet'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives speech at inauguration
Mr Ahmadinejad is expected to reveal his full cabinet on Wednesday

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will bring at least two women into his new cabinet - the first such appointments in Iran since the 1970s.

He told Iran TV he would propose Fatemeh Ajorlou as social security minister and Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi as health minister, among others.

Mr Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term on 5 August amid a crisis triggered by disputed polls in June.

Meanwhile another 28 people have gone on trial over post-election unrest.

More than 100 people are already on trial in Iran following the election, among them a number of senior politicians.

The trials have been criticised by several foreign powers, opposition groups and human rights campaigners, but authorities insist their legal proceedings are completely legitimate and conform to international standards of justice.

'Rightful demands'

The latest trial comes a day after Mr Ahmadinejad's main opponent in the election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, vowed to continue challenging the result in a social movement called Green Path of Hope.

"The Green Path of Hope is formed for the sake of people's rightful demands and for claiming their rights," the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper quoted him as saying.

He has described it as a grassroots movement, but he has not given many more details about how it will take the opposition campaign forward.

Official election results awarded Mr Ahmadinejad a sweeping victory in the polls. He is expected to announce his full cabinet line-up on Wednesday.

The women he has named could, if approved, become the first female cabinet ministers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, although there have been female vice-presidents.

The BBC's Tehran correspondent John Leyne says both are hardline conservatives.

Ms Ajorlou has supported tough enforcement of the Islamic dress code for women, and quotas for women at university.

Ms Dastjerdi, meanwhile, has in the past proposed introducing segregated health care in Iran, with women treating women and men men, though it was rejected as impractical.

MPs have to approve the ministers in a confidence vote, and have warned the president that they must be "experienced", amid criticisms of his frequent reshuffles and dismissals during his first term.

Foreign media, including the BBC, have been restricted in their coverage of Iran in the wake of the election protests.



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