Iran's supreme leader gives way on women's rights

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has signaled a willingness to reinterpret Islamic law in favor of women's rights, but not following Western convention, his official Web site and state-run television reported Thursday. Khamenei's comments come amid criticism of Iran by international human rights groups for persecuting women's rights activists. "Some issues about women, which exist in religious jurisprudence, are not the final say. It is possible to interpret new points through research by a skillful jurist," the Web site quoted Khamenei as saying Wednesday during a speech to commemorate national women's day. Iran's Islamic law imposes tight restrictions on women, like requiring them to have a male guardian's permission to work or travel. Women are not allowed to become judges, and a man's court testimony is considered twice as important as a woman's.