17 Aug 2009

Iranian president wants female ministers in cabinet

10:49 am on 17 August 2009

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will propose at least three female ministers in his new cabinet following the country's disputed election.

Such a step would be an unprecedented move in the conservative Islamic state. Their appointment would make them the first women to be government ministers since the Islamic revolution 30 years ago.

Mr Ahmadinejad, speaking at the start of the third mass trial of demonstrators accused of trying to overthrow clerical rule, says the West must be held to account for stoking unrest in Iran after the 12 June presidential vote.

He has so far named two of his proposed female ministers.

French lecturer out on bail

Meanwhile, Iran has released on bail a French university lecturer who was charged with spying after last month's presidential election.

A statement from the French presidency says Clotilde Reiss, 24, is in good health and will stay at the French embassy in Tehran awaiting a verdict in her trial.

Ms Reiss went before an Iranian tribunal in a mass trial about a week ago.

Ms Reiss was arrested in Tehran in July after taking part in post-election street protests.

France says it has asked that all charges against Ms Reiss and an embassy employee be dropped.

Hundreds of people were detained after the violent protests that followed June's disputed election.