TORONTO STAR - The United Nations has rightly scuppered a bid by Iran for a seat on the THE  executive board of UN Women, a new agency to promote equality for women. Thought to be a shoo-in, Iran was trounced by East Timor when the votes were counted Wednesday.

The rebuff was richly deserved. Other less-than-woman-friendly regimes were elected, including Saudi Arabia (which effectively bought itself a seat, as a big funder of the $500 million agency). But theocratic Iran was an especially unsavory candidate to help lead an organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination, empowering women and promoting gender equality.

In Iran, women have been barred from running for the presidency. They can be flogged for appearing in public without head scarves and stoned to death for adultery. They have no independent right to education after marriage or to child custody. In court, their testimony is worth half that of a man. Advocates of women’s rights are persecuted.