July 15, 2004           VOLUME 2

To our readers,

The recent news from Iran has only shown what has been typical of this fundamentalist regime over the past 25 years: crackdown, suppression, arrests and killings.  Since mid June, we have witnessed the increased crackdown on women through the harsh enforcement of the dress code in the hot summer days.  This coordinated effort was followed by more arrests of the student’s commemorating the 5th anniversary of 1999 uprising in Iran.  Our organization has received reports on two female students Shirin and Akram Nazeri who have been arrested in the recent days in Tehran. The images of streets clashes, broken doors, and buildings remain today as the people continue to resist the fundamentalist forces. 


Just a few days ago, we honored the memory of the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, killed for taking pictures of the protests in 2003.  Although one year has passed, the circumstances of her arrest and murder are still unknown. Zahra Kazmei’s efforts to capture the terror, pain and injustice of people living in an Islamic police state will not be forgotten.


At WFAFI, we remember and see the faces of resistance in all of these events that have passed and those yet to come.  It is in fact, an inspiration to see that despite the harsh and brutal reality, the Iranian people, particularly women, are at the forefront of struggle for democracy, equality, peace, and stability.

E-Zan Featured Headlines

Misogyny: The true face of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran


State Run - Jomhouri Islamic Daily, June 1, 2004

In line with the policies of the States’ Physical Punishment Organization in continuing to provide segregated services to the public, the first retribution branch for women was inaugurated in the city of Sanandaj.


State Run - Iranian Student’s News Agency, June 20, 2004

The judge of branch 1154 of the Tehran Criminal Court announced that Shahla Jahed was sentenced to execution. Abdol Samad Khoramshahi, Shahla's defense attorney said the death sentence has been sent to Iran's Supreme Court for approval.


State Run – Bamdad Daily, June 29, 2004

A female parliamentarian, Fatima Alia, endorses polygamy in Iran when faced criticism with regards to advancing women’s rights in Iran. In an interview with Bamdad Daily, Mrs. Alia, parliamentarian from Abadgar town, insisted that polygamy is acceptable in Islam given “special conditions”.


State Run – SINA News Agency, June 29, 2004

Through illegal abortion, 80,000 unwanted babies are killed annually in Iran. According to the unofficial numbers, one out of every 10 girls, under the age of 16, die because of illegal abortions.  State Run-SINA News Agency reported that abortion is an option only by doctor’s recommendation when the life of the mother is in danger. Only 10-20% of illegal abortions are successful in Iran due to lack of access to health care systems and professionals. In general 20-35% of abortions result in the death of women between the ages of 16 to 30. The government issues only 623 permissions a month for legal abortions.


Reuters - World News, Jun 29, 2004

A woman's testimony and life, in blood money terms, are worth half that of a man's in court. A woman still cannot become president and is entitled to half the inheritance due to a man.


Peik-e Iran Site – June 30, 2004

Ali Zadsar, a parliamentarian for the 7th parliament said: “Other Muslims who travel to Iran are shocked on how relaxed we are with regards to the Islamic Hejab – dress code.”  He added:” The black cloak “Chador”, the preferred covering for women since it covers their entire body including their curves…Chador is like a “shell” that covers the “pearl” which is the women’s body…it prevents provoking of the opposite sex.”


State Run – Bamdad Daily, July 13, 2004

The Hizbollah Party in Iran complained about the [bare minimum] laws protecting women and girls…in their latest report, they complained about the potential prison terms that male guardians may face in the case of beating their women or girls. They complained: “How can we stop our women and girls? If we continue like this, then we will see immoral women in their bathing suites walking the streets, corrupting our society leading to more divorce.”

E-Zan Featured Reports
Blogging boom gives Iranian women a voice

The Associated Press

June 23, 2004

Take one exasperated Iranian woman. Add a computer. Hook it up to the internet. "And you have a voice in a country where it's very hard to be heard," said Lady Sun, the online identity of one of the first Iranian women to start a blog - a freeform mix of news items, commentaries and whatever else comes to mind…"We have suffered under unjust press laws," said Issa Sahakhiz, member of the Iranian branch of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "We are afraid (of) more to come with this new parliament." In a country full of paradox, the internet has been one of the biggest.


Iran ranks second in the world in execution

Radio Farda – US Based Radio Broadcasted to Iran

June 24, 2004

Just like previous years, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked second after China in carrying out execution sentences. The non government Italian organization, "Hands off Cain", which issues reports every year regarding death sentences in the world, presented last year's report to the press in Milan…


Suppression through "the veil"

Radio Farda – US Based Radio Broadcasted to Iran

June 24, 2004

Chief Talaie, commander of Greater Tehran's State Security Forces, recently announced that the State Security Forces will take actions against the manifestation of mal-veiling in society and naturally these actions will start from Tehran and other large cities. Simultaneously, the Seventh Majlis that is represented by conservative hard-liners vowed to seriously fight what it calls "manifestation of mal-veiling".


Summer of suppression

State Run - Kayhan daily

June 24, 2004

Tala'ii, commander of Greater Tehran's State Security Forces, in a press conference announced the SSF's plans in the summer. Morteza Tala'ii announced that the State Security Forces are planning to step up control on public places such as parks, mountain resorts, sports centers, cultural/educational centers, video clubs, and coffee shops. He told reporters that because students have more leisure time in the summer, there will be more supervision on educational, cultural and recreation facilities. Tala'ii added that one of the vulnerable places that the young generation rushes to during the summer is educational centers, which will be under severe control. He also said coffee shops and cafes that don't have licenses will be closed down and if the licensed centers engage in illegal activities, they will be dealt with harshly. More police will be stationed in parks and mountains for further control.


Women rights face grim future in Iran

Reuters - World News

Jun 29, 2004

Female activists, determined to overhaul laws that restrict women's divorce and custody and inheritance rights and forbid them from working or leaving the country without their husband's permission, are dismayed. "Most of the new deputies regard women as second-class citizens, so they will consider women's issues from that angle and will not acknowledge any right more than that”; "... Opposing the bill to remove discrimination against women proves the backwardness of these female deputies," said activist Marziyeh Mortazi-Langhroudi… Emboldened young women have steadily tested the barriers of permissible dress, wearing gradually more colorful clothes and more obvious make-up… Newly-elected women parliamentarians declined to comment to Reuters.


5000 widowed women of Bam are living in critical conditions

State Run - Fars News Agency

July 3, 2004

The report issued on June 30, 2004 by Fars News Agency says: “The head of Socio-Cultural Commission of Islamic Councils of major cities in Iran reported on the 5000 widowed women of Bam who are living under the most ominous conditions”.

According to the report issued by the public and international relations section of the Mashhad municipality, Rasoul Khadem said:”the widows of Bam are facing many challenges including inability to make ends meet, breakdown of families, unemployment, depression, and hopelessness.” He added: “Also 5000 orphans, aged between toddlers to teenagers, in Bam are facing a great deal of financial, social and cultural difficulties.”  Khadem said although these women and children are the victims of the recent earthquake in Bam, their presence is increasingly noticeable and raised concern over their role in further social catastrophe in Bam. He said: “Some residents of Bam are in the state of shock and despair and if we do not deal with it responsibly it will create a serious social crisis there.”


A quarter of Iranian women beset by depression

State-Run, Iran Daily

July 6, 2004

The ‘Iran’ daily reported that the results of a survey carried out by the Psychology Institute show that 14.9% of Iranian men suffer from some kind of mental disorder while the figure stands at 25.9% among Iranian women. The head of the Institute, Dr. Jafar Bolhari considered the lack of a coordinated relief network in the country as the reason behind this crisis saying: “Many of the serious psychological diseases seen today among Iranian women were at first no more than minor problems.

Yet as these problems were left unnoticed, they gradually grew into complicated crises.” According to Dr. Bolhari the most serious psychological problem threatening Iranian women is depression. He noted that in today’s society when an Iranian woman counters a problem she does not know where to seek refuge and that’s why she is vulnerable toward psychological pressures.


Iran's morality police have made several raids targeting women

BBC News World

July 12, 2004

Witnesses said dozens of young women were held in the raids on shopping centres and shops in the capital. Police also confiscated several items of clothing deemed to be too revealing. After winning parliamentary elections in February, hardliners warned they would not tolerate what they described as social corruption…Witnesses said scores of police - including female officers in chadors - raided the Milad commercial centres in western Tehran and took away dozens of young women in special minibuses. Shops selling fashion clothing for women - especially bright figure-hugging coats - were also targeted. The police chief in Tehran recently warned that anybody caught involved in what he called social corruption would be punished, the BBC's regional analyst Sadeq Saba says. Reports from other major cities suggest that similar harsh measures are being adopted there, he adds. In the historic city of Isfahan, police recently banned women who were improperly veiled from entering public places, the country's official news agency Irna reported. It said police in the city also banned the playing of live music in reception halls and at public events. Since February's victory, Iran's conservatives have been putting pressure on the authorities to fight what they call the erosion of Islamic values, our analyst says. The hardliners are angry that women are progressively defying the rules by wearing shorter, tighter and brighter coats, especially during the scorching summer months. But many observers believe that the crackdown will be counter-productive in a country with a young, educated and increasingly rebellious population, our analyst adds.


Husband Dodges Suicide Pact with Bride

Reuters - World News
July 12, 2004

TEHRAN - An Iranian man who struck a suicide pact with his new bride over their guilt for having pre-marital sex is being held by police after he backed out on his side of the bargain, judiciary officials said on Sunday. The couple, who were not named, had been married for just two days when, "due to their guilty consciences for having illicit sexual relations, they decided to kill each other at the same time," the official said.  The man helped to hang his wife but then changed his mind about killing himself and handed himself in to police in the northeastern Khorasan province, the official told the ISNA student news agency. Pre-marital sex is taboo in the Islamic state where some girls have to go through a virginity test before tying knot.


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Volume 2, July 15, 2004

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