Dubai: Iran’s President Hassan Rohani, who has promised to back women’s increased participation in Iranian society, appointed Elham Aminzadeh as his vice-president for legal affairs.

Rohani cited Aminzadeh’s scientific competence and judicial qualifications as well as legislative experience and moral merits, in his appointment letter, which was published on the president’s website. Rohani appointed former industry minister Eshagh Jahangiri as his first Vice-President a day after he took the oath of office.

During his presidential campaign, Rohani pledged to create more job opportunities for women. Rohani, a cleric and trained lawyer, has also criticized the government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having increased police patrols to ensure women’s hair and body curves were covered.

Aminzadeh, a former member of the parliament, holds a doctorate in international law from the University of Glasgow and teaches at the Tehran-based Allameh Tabatabaei University, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency and the state-run Fars news agency.

Her appointment comes after some female activists criticized Rohani for nominating only men for his 18-member cabinet. The candidates’ background and qualifications are being reviewed by the Parliament this week for approval.

The presence of female figures in the Iranian government isn’t unprecedented. Mohammad Khatami, president from 1997-2005, appointed a female vice-president for the first time. It was under Ahmadinejad, who was president for eight years until earlier this month, that Iran’s Islamic Republic got its first female cabinet minister. BLOOMBERG

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