Tag Archives: Iran

violence against Iranian women

By Farnaz Fassihi

Before he beheaded his 14-year-old daughter with a farming sickle, Reza Ashrafi called a lawyer.

His daughter, Romina, was going to dishonor the family by running off with her 29-year-old boyfriend, he said. What kind of punishment, he asked the lawyer, would he get for killing her?

The lawyer assured him that as the girl’s guardian he would not face capital punishment but at most 3 to 10 years in jail, Mr. Ashrafi’s relatives told an Iranian newspaper.

Three weeks later, Mr. Ashrafi, a 37-year-old farmer, marched into the bedroom where the girl was sleeping and decapitated her.


This  Conservatives dismiss any effort to change the law as succumbing to Western feminism.

The struggle for women’s rights has a long history in Iran but has suffered setbacks since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The women’s movement was finally dismantled as an organized effort in 2009, criminalized on grounds that it threatened national security.

Today its most prominent faces, including the Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and the feminist lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, are either in exile or in jail. Even Ms. Hashemi, whose father was president and a founding father of the revolution, was jailed.

“Women’s rights are politicized and criminalized making it very hard to channel this outrage on the ground into tangible action,” said Sussan Tahmasebi a women’s rights activist based in Tehran and Washington.

has also prompted a me-too moment on social media of women pouring out their own stories of abuse at the hands of male relatives in hopes of shedding light on a problem that is usually kept quiet.

Minoo, a 49-year-old mother of two in Tehran, said her husband had beaten their 17-year-old daughter when he spotted her with a male friend in the street.

Hanieh Rajabi, a Ph.D. student in philosophy, tweeted that her father had lashed her with a belt and kept her out of school for a week because she had walked home from class to buy ice cream instead of taking the school bus.

Others shared stories of rape, physical and emotional abuse and running away from home in search of safety.

Iranian women work as lawyers, doctors, pilots, film directors and truck drivers. They hold 60 percent of university seats and constitute 50 percent of the work force. They can run for office, and they hold seats in the Parliament and cabinet.

But there are restrictions. Women must cover their hair, arms and curves in public, and they need the permission of a male relative to leave the country, ask for a divorce or work outside the home.


Iranians Rebel Against 40% Youth Unemployment and Rising Food Prices

The latest uprising is occurring in Iran where about 40% of the young are unemployed and staple products like eggs have gone up 40%, leading to demonstrations in December 2017. They began in Mashhad to protest recent price increases and spread to tens of thousands in multiple cities. The economic grievances expanded to calls against corruption and to oust Ayatollah Ali Khomeini and cries of “Death to Rouhani.” Crowds chanted “Forget Palestine” to focus on Iranian economic problems, as well as “Death or Freedom.” They also chanted, “Mullahs have some shame, leave the country alone.” President Hassan Rouhani responded that Iranians have the right to protest but not to do violence. The government shut down Instagram and the messaging app Telegraph. Hundreds were arrested and over a dozen people were killed as they tried to take over police stations and military bases. These are the biggest demonstrations since the 2009 protests over corruption in the presidential election. A difference is that they don’t have known leaders like presidential candidates who were spokesmen in 2009.

lifestyle revolution in Iran

Since Rouhani became president in 2013, a “lifestyle movement” is underway with women without headscafs, university students wearing bright colors, street musicians and concerts (conservative clerics say music is haram), comedians (before joking in public was suspect), and billboards not just for political leaders but celebrities. This opening is similar to what happened in the “Iranian Spring” under moderate president Mohammad Khatami, 1997 to 2005. Political expression is the red line that still can’t be crossed, although campaigns mushroom for initiatives to save stray cats and dogs or improve the quality of Iranian cars.

Thomas Erdbrink, “Cautiously, Iranians Reclaim Public Spaces and Liberties Long Suppressed,” New York Times, October 5, 2015.


Iran Jails Cartoonist

Iran jailed cartoonist Alena Farghadani, age 28, for criticizing parliament members for restricting access to contraception and attempting to pass a bill criminalizing voluntary sterilization. She drew legislators as cows, monkeys and other animals. She also created an exhibition of people killed in the 2009 protests against voting fraud in the presidential election. The court sentenced her to 12 years in prison for “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and insulting her prison interrogators, etc. Also in 2015, activist Atena Daemi, age 27, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for her postings on Facebook and Twitter advocating an end to the death penalty and human rights violations.