Reuters/Raheb Homavand
An Iranian woman casts her ballot in Tehran.

Iran’s new parliament will have more women than clerics

By Marta Cooper

Iran’s new parliament will have more women than clerics for the first time since before the 1979 Islamic revolution when it is sworn in later this month.

Although the female members only number 17 out of the 290 members of parliament—who approve cabinet appointments and new legislation—only 16 clerics were elected, the BBC reports. The number of clerical members of parliament has been falling steadily from the the 164 elected following the 1979 revolution, AFP reports.

Run-off elections held on Friday (April 29) saw moderates and reformists allied with President Hassan Rouhani win a working majority in parliament for the first time in over a decade, according to the BBC. Hardliners, meanwhile, won fewer than a third of seats.

“It indicates the power, activism and persistence of Iranian women against all odds,” Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and author of On the Arab Revolts and the Iranian Revolution told Quartz.

“The newly elected appointments are likely to be rather more supportive of the cautiously transformative policies of the Rouhani administration,” Professor Adib-Moghaddam said.