Women are to be excluded from 77 BA and BSc courses at 36 Iranian universities in the coming year.
The ban was first reported by Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency, and will see women excluded from studying in the fields of engineering, accounting, education, counselling, the restoration of monuments and chemistry.
On the back of this news, the country’s Oil Industry University announced that “at the moment it did not have any need for women resources.”
Human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi has demanded a UN investigation into the move
The head of the body’s PR office told Rooz Online: “The management of the oil industry did not believe that the harsh conditions of operations in this field did not make it suitable for women.
“According to recent surveys conducted by the public relations office of the Oil Industry University, not all women students were satisfied with the fields and conditions to which they had been admitted.”
The Telegraph says the move comes as Iranian female students are outperforming males, with women outperforming men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.
It also reports that Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, the country’s most celebrated human rights campaigner, had demanded a UN investigation into the move.
Ms Ebadi, who is living in exile in Britain, claims the real agenda is to reduce the proportion of female students from present numbers of 65% to 50% - in order to weaken the Iranian feminist movement .
She wrote: “The aim is that women will give up their opposition and demands for their own rights.”
Radio Zamaneh said: “Following the election protests of 2009 that led to mass street protests, the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointed the finger at universities as the breeding ground for subversive behaviour and called for a greater focus on Islamic principles in universities.”