Woman diplomat to head Swiss embassy in Iran

Switzerland is to be represented by a woman at its embassy in Iran - likely to be the only female ambassador to Tehran.

This content was published on September 7, 2008 minutes

The appointment of Livia Leu Agosti comes amid controversy over a visit to Tehran by Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey earlier this year.

The designated ambassador says she considers her appointment as a sign that women can play an important role in a world dominated by men.

Leu said she would wear a headscarf for her diplomatic position in Tehran – in line with Iran's law.

Several rightwing Swiss politicians have criticised the appointment of Leu - who is to take over from Philippe Welti at the end of the year – and accused the foreign ministry of giving in to pressure by a Muslim country.

An Iran expert at Munich University told the Sonntag newspaper Leu's appointment was a daring step but a provocation for conservatives.

Switzerland has been representing the interests of the United States in Tehran since the 1980 and the interests of Iran in Egypt since 1979.

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