Womens Day in Iran Means Institutionalized Discrimination Against Women

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Islamic fundamentalists do not view women as human beings, but as subhuman, and secondary to men. This is their mentality. This perspective is perhaps the most central principle in their philosophy. For the fundamentalists, as we can see in Iran today, gender equality is viewed as an existential threat. This is a sheer crime. Violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it’s not culture, history nor religion. It is a crime that needs to be prevented, prosecuted and penalized.

Islamic fundamentalism in Iran is the enemy of all, especially women

Iran refusing to join the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women is no cultural matter, but playing into the security interests of a dictatorial regime. Iran is the birthplace of the first fundamentalist regime. The notion of an Islamic caliphate was the brainchild of Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, known for saying we need a caliph who would decapitate and cut off hands.

Human & Women’s Rights in Iran Today

Human rights in Iran has deteriorated significantly over the past couple of years. There has been no improvement despite all the propaganda when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in the summer of 2013.

In fact, human rights conditions, including the situation of women, have deteriorated. More people have been executed, many in public, to terrorize the people. The mullahs’ suppressive measures mark Iranian women as the main targets, denying them of their most basic rights. In Iran, discrimination against women is not only legalized, but institutionalized. While women’s rights are violated in many countries, while women are suppressed in many Muslim countries under the “sharia law”, Iran remains unique as its crackdown is embedded in the constitution, and civil and administrative laws.

Iran’s crackdown on women is embedded in the constitution, and civil and administrative laws

Nuclear Deal Rendered No Progress

Only months after the major world powers’ nuclear deal, Iran is in the middle of what Amnesty International has described as an unprecedented climax in executions. Currently, Iran’s new “moderate” administration is on track to hit another new high in executions. The recent nuclear pact should not lure the West to ignore the atrocious state of human rights and women’s rights in Iran.

Deals coming at the price of human rights are unacceptable. It is important for the United States and the European Union to use their position to advocate for human rights and unveil Iran’s human rights abuses to the world, especially against women.

A Deeper Look At The Regime

The Islamic Republic of Iran is better described as an Islamic fundamentalist regime. A theocratic state where citizens can “vote” for the president and parliament, but the highest authority lies in the hands of religious leaders. The mullahs qualify or disqualify candidates for elections. It is the supreme leader, now Ali Khamenei, who truly holds the power as head of the state and absolute authority over what is in their definition “divine” and “profane.”

During nearly four decades of darkness, the Iranian fundamentalist regime has executed more than 120,000 people, tens of thousands being women. Unfortunately, this trend continues to this day.

Since the “moderate” and “progressive” Rouhani took office in 2013, and with most of the international community’s deafening silence, more than 2,300 prisoners have been hanged, including dozens of women and juveniles. The lists continues to increase with at least 700 in 2015 alone. In 2016 Iranian women are systematically denied their civil, individuals and social rights.

Laws are still in place making strict clothing regulations, or hijab, compulsory through humiliating, arresting and lashing women who fail to abide by these regulations. Regime-sponsored acid attacks targeting women should also not be forgotten. Women are banned from sports stadiums or even singing. The mullahs seek to permanently exclude women from the social sphere, reflecting a political will of oppression.

Iran is the epicenter of Islamic fundamentalism and a test site for this horrific phenomenon. Fundamentalism is not only the enemy of Muslim women, but all women, and mankind altogether. It is a global and inclusive threat to peace and security, rising on the back of crackdown, terror and fear.

The history of women’s struggles for freedom and equality is fundamentalism’s greatest enemy. To this end, women are the first victims of its destruction.

Iranian women protest against the regime.
International Women’s Day in Iran.

A Woman Leading The Effort

Maryam Rajavi, the charismatic Iranian opposition leader presiding over the National Council of Resistance of Iran umbrella group, has been the first to call for the formation of a united front against Islamic fundamentalism.

She has been the Muslim woman advocating Islam supporting absolute gender equality in every field. From marriage and inheritance, to equal pay and equal participation in political leadership, and decision-making positions in the economic domain. As a Muslim leader she rejects the mullahs’ so-called sharia law.

Mrs. Rajavi is the vanguard in the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism, representing the possibility of a Muslim political leadership based on the rule of law, equality, democracy and freedom. This is the sole solution to end extremism and fundamentalism. She leads a force against Islamic fundamentalism and a democratic change in Iran that should be supported by women and men across the globe.

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.