Iran: A Leading State in Women’s Oppression
All dictators are known to oppress their opponents, lie to society about their policies, and resort to any crime necessary to remain in power. Hitler believed a lie should be preposterous to make it believable.
As the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8th, Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani has recently been making remarks about women’s rights (!) in an attempt to cloak his portion of the Iranian regime’s misogynist report card.
In his own memoirs, from page 571 to 573, Rouhani explains in detail how in 1980 he began enforcing mandatory hijab regulations as the mullahs began their historical campaign against Iranian women.
On a more general scale, Rouhani is known for his preposterous remarks. During the 2013 presidential campaign he once said, “Not only do I believe we should not have any political prisoners, but I believe we shouldn’t have any prisoners at all.”
This same Rouhani, in 1980 when he was a member of parliament, provided a theory on how to establish security across the country: “Conspirators must be hanged in public before the people during Friday prayers to have more influence,” he said, according to the official Sharq website.
Rouhani’s tenure has also been the hallmark home of systematic oppression against women, workers, college students, writers, journalists, dissident bloggers; imposing poverty and unemployment on a majority of Iranians; continuous threats made against the media; punishment of political prisoners have increased significantly even in comparison to the years of Iran’s firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During Rouhani’s human rights violations-stained tenure, an average of two to three people have been executed on a daily basis.
Iranian women are known for their high rate of college education. But Iranian women have a lesser chance of entering the workforce in comparison to their counterparts in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. This despite the fact that Rouhani had pledged to set aside all barriers before women and provide them a larger share in politics and economics.
Statistics from the period of March 2015 to March 2016 show unemployment amongst young Iranians reached over 26%, and that 42% of young women were out of work.
“Based on numbers, around 300,000 women were working and enjoying social security insurance. However, these numbers have diminished to 100,000,” said Soheila Jelodarzadeh, advisor to Rouhani’s Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade to the official ILNA news agency.
On the salary gap between men and women working in factories, this advisor added in many cases women receive less than a third of the set minimum wage.
Rouhani had also pledged to establish a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Not only has no such ministry ever been formed, Rouhani’s cabinet lacks even a single female minister.
During his four years in office, Rouhani has presided over the establishment of gender-segregated universities and women being restricted from many university courses. Many educational books have been changed to the detriment of women, and many fields are only allocated for men.
Perhaps the most atrocious of all crimes has been the phenomenon of regime hoodlums splashing acid on women. Not one individual was arrested after around 15 women were attacked with acid in the city of Isfahan.
Due to the nature of the mullahs’ regime, there are no specific numbers of how many women have been arrested, tortured, and executed under Rouhani’s watch. Yet rest assured, such statistics would be very troubling, to say the least.
On January 27th, 2016, coinciding with Rouhani’s visit to France, the country’s Members of the National Assembly issued an open letter to President Francoise Hollande published in Le Figaro:
“…the new version of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code continues to legalize stoning to death. Generally, women are under the pressure of legalized discrimination in regards to marriage, divorce, parenting children and inheritance. Women, continued to be considered minors, are not permitted to work and cannot travel without their husband’s consent. A 2013 bill was ratified in Iran’s parliament allowing men to marry their adopted daughters once they reach the age of 13. This is tantamount to legalizing sexual harassment of children…”
This short slate of facts shows that despite all his claims of being a “moderate” or “reformist,” Rouhani’s report card, especially on women’s rights, proves he is nothing but another mullahs’ regime loyalist striving to maintain the establishment intact.
Despite Iran being one of the most ruthless regimes in respect to women’s rights, it is believed that the women of Iran can bring about change if not suppressed.
Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, also known as the MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.