Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran

Iranians walk in the old bazaar, in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, May 12, 2013. On Saturday former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's made a last minute surprise decision to enter Iran's presidential election process, which now includes more than 680 hopefuls and will culminate June 14 with just a handful of names on the ballot to succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In one of his first statements since joining the race, Rafsanjani spoke in general terms Sunday of seeking a new ``economic and political'' rebirth in a time of ``foreign threats and sanctions.'' (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A member of Iran's constitutional watchdog says women cannot be presidential candidates, effectively killing the longshot bids by about 30 women seeking to run in the June 14 election.

Even before Thursday's comments by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, chances for a woman candidate in Iran's presidential election were considered nearly impossible.

Iran's constitution uses a word denoting only a male president.

The semiofficial Mehr news agency quotes Yazdi as saying the "law does not approve" of a woman in Iran's highest elected office and that this is "not allowed."

Women, however, have been elected lawmakers and serve in the parliament.

The Guardian Council, where Yazdi is a member, vets all candidates. A total of 686 people have registered to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The final list will be announced next Tuesday.