Marzieh Afkham will become Iran’s second ever female ambassador — and the first one since the Islamic revolution of 1979 turned back the clock for women in the country. The state news agency announced that Afkham, who is Iran’s first foreign ministry spokeswoman, will head a not yet disclosed mission in East Asia. The appointment marks a breakthrough for women in the government of the moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, who had said earlier this week that it is the government’s duty to create equal opportunities for women. Rouhani promised to take a more progressive stance on gender equality, and has spoken out against the crackdown on women showing their hair and segregating men and women at universities and sports events. Nevertheless, discriminatory laws persist in the country and Rouhani still has to deliver on most of his promises. This appointment is a positive step, however, and might open up the way to more women being promoted to senior jobs in the Irani government.
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