In a lengthy statement about women’s rights and responsibilities, Iran’s Supreme Leader has explained that the West’s approach is a “Zionist plot”, compared to his value for women as homemakers.

Ayatollah Khamenei offered his thoughts on Sunday on the anniversary of the birth of Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad.

Khamenei held up Fatimah as a “perfect role model for Muslim women”, as a “mother, wife & housewife”. He continued, “Men and women are no different in some aspects like spiritual ascension, leadership power, or ability to guide humanity, but they are different in aspects like ‘duties in handling life’.”

Despite the Supreme Leader’s proclamation of women’s spiritual and leadership abilities, there are none among Iran’s clergy or judiciary, few in the executive branch, and only a small — but growing — number of MPs.

Khamenei maintained on Sunday that this equality of position would be destructive: “Western thinkers and those who pursue issues such as gender equality regret the corruption which it has brought about.”