Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that rights of women and girls in his country are highly respected unlike the West where, he claimed, women had “no dignity“.

Human rights groups have rallied against Iran’s election to the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the grounds that the Islamic Republic is oppressive when it comes to women’s rights.

“What is left of women’s dignity in the West? Is there any generation left? Is there any love and kindness left,” Mr. Ahmadinejad asked reporters.

“Tell me exactly how women’s dignity is upheld in West, especially in Europe.”

“Woman is a symbol of beauty of God on Earth,” he said, noting that women in Iran were far better off than women in Europe where almost seventy per cent housewives were beaten by their spouses.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also asserted that his country would never join the Committee to Eliminate All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) treaty.

“We will never accept CEDAW,” he said, noting that certain provisions of the treaty were undesirable.

“Our culture is our own. Our belief system is our own.

We will never (follow a) basic criterion that leads to the destruction of women,” the Iranian leader said.

Mr. Ahmadinejad noted that in Iran women were given a great deal of respect in politics and academia research but noted that “menial jobs” were not meant for women.

“In Iran, our women refuse to be drivers of trucks or to clean streets or do hard and burdensome tasks that you and I, in other words, men, do... An Iranian woman would just not agree to those kinds of jobs,” he said.

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