• PERSIAN GULF \ Mar 09, 2001
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    Iran clears way for female students
Iran clears way for female students Unmarried women will be able to leave Iran to study abroad on state scholarships, according to a new law approved by the county's constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council.The change marks a victory for reformists seeking greater political and social freedom in Iran. Religious hardliners opposed the bill, saying it would expose Iranian women to "corrupting" foreign influences.
Married women have long been able to study abroad, but only provided they have the written permission of their husbands.

The Guardian Council, which decides whether legislation confirms with the constitution and Islam, is dominated by conservative clerics.
Earlier this year it blocked the bill on religious grounds and sent it back to parliament to be amended.
It approved the bill only after the reformist-dominated parliament agreed that an unmarried women must have the written permission of her father before leaving the country.
Lawmakers say the bill will give women access to scientific studies not available in Iran.
The status of women in Iran has improved steadily since the election of reformist President Mohammed Khatami in 1997