Outrage as Iranian women are barred from more than 70 degree courses

Calls for United Nations intervention after discrimination in favour of male students

Female students in Iran have been banned from more than 70 university courses at 36 universities in an officially-approved act of sex-discrimination.

This follows years of Iranian female students outperforming men, causing concern among senior clerics in the higher ranks of the country’s regime who are fearful of the effect of female domination on birth and marriage rates.

The new policy excludes women from studying certain subjects in the best institutions, including English literature and translation, physics and computer science.

One institution, the Oil Industry University, which has campuses across the country will not accept any female students, claiming women don’t find employment after studying there.

This has drawn criticism from human rights groups and supporters, including Iran’s most celebrated campaigner Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

She is calling for a United Nations investigation and has written a letter to the UN secretary general and the high commissioner for human rights.

In the letter she writes: ‘[It] is part of the recent policy of the Islamic Republic, which tries to return women to the private domain inside the home as it cannot tolerate their passionate presence in the public arena.

‘The aim is that women will give up their opposition and demands for their own rights.’

According to UNESCO Iran has the highest ratio of female to male undergraduate students in the world.

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