Mohammad Zolfaghari

Violence against women in Iran

Thirty-eight years on, the Islamic republic of Iran has not eased up on its violent policies and conducts against Iran’s women and girls because it is a misogynous regime founded on suppression of women and discrimination against them.

The state-sponsored nature of violence against women in Iran calls for the international community’s measure to hold the Iranian regime accountable for violating its international obligations to uphold women’s rights.

The clerical regime’s Constitution and laws institutionalize violence and discrimination against women and sanction the cruel punishment of stoning.

Iran is the only country in the world where women have been executed or tortured to death. They included teenage girls, pregnant women and elderly mothers.

The truth is that Iranian women have stood up to the regime massive repression and have never surrendered to the misogynous regime.
Many died under torture, were executed by firing squads or kissed their hanging noose but did not budge and iota on the most important demand and needs of their nation, that is national sovereignty and democratic freedoms.

Many preferred to spend long years behind bars in the cold of dungeons and prison cells and go on hunger strike, forsaking their homes, families and loved ones. Others rose up everywhere in any factory, university and school to demand their rights.

Female political prisoners in Iran suffer tremendously. After spending long periods in solitary confinement under torture and interrogation, these women are sentenced to lengthy prison sentences where they contract various illnesses. Prison authorities, however, deprive them from having access to medical treatment and leave them to suffer and die gradually. Maryam Akbari Monfared, Nargess Mohammadi, Zeinab Jalalian are to name a few.

Obviously, the reports of violence against women whether obtained by relevant authorities or the media, comprise only a small portion of the actual number of such incidents as women fear reprisals at home or workplace, and most commonly are afraid of losing their honor in the eye of family and friends.

Violence against women and domestic violence are institutionalized in the law and official practices and not considered crimes in Iran. Victims of violence do not enjoy any government support, and worse, the Civil Code considers men as heads of the household and the house as their private property. Fathers and brothers are not blamed for killing their daughters and sisters since they own the latter’s blood under the law.

The worst aspect of violence against women in Iran is that it is state-sponsored. The government officials and institutions promote and provoke violence against women in society, in schools, in the streets, in the Friday prayers, in the media, and everywhere.

As long as this misogynous regime is in power, women’s rights could not be upheld.In the meantime, the international community must adopt measures and mechanisms to hold such states, including the Iranian regime, accountable for their crimes against women.

Iranian women deserve the same basic rights as men. Discrimination against them must end.

About the Author
Mohammad Zolfaghari is a Baha'i News reporter and human rights defender who worked exclusively on Human Rights Violations especially religious minorities in Iran and as a documentary maker with Amnesty International. Lives in Norway.
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