August 15, 2004      VOLUME 3

To our readers,

Since our last issue, there have been more crackdowns, arrests, and executions of women in Iran. Gender Apartheid is firmly rooted in Iran’s constitution and controls both the public and private lives of women. Article 21 of the constitution indicates, “The government must ensure the right of women in all respects is in conformity with Islamic criteria.” Such criteria are set by the supreme leader of the fundamentalist regime in Tehran and have nothing to do with Islam. In the early days of 1979 revolution, Khomeini set the tone by calling the long black covering for women (chador) the “flag of the revolution”.  After Khomeini’s death, Ali Khamanei became the supreme leader reaffirming his authority by declaring “the notion of equality between man and women is childish”.


This issue of E-Zan only provides a small glimpse of ongoing violence against women in Iran. However, we would like to remind our readers that Iranian women view their rights, reforms, and new strategies for achieving the desired political, social, and legal equality in terms of regime change in their homeland. Iranian women believe democracy is the only answer. While WFAFI is committed to promote a greater awareness of the challenges women face living under fundamentalist regimes like Iran, we support the indigenous call for regime change in Iran.

E-Zan Featured Headlines

Gender apartheid is the message of Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran


State Run - Shargh Newspaper, July 16, 2004

In a recent meeting with Iran’s Interior Ministry, a sociologist, Ms. Azam Khatam announced: “Iranian women hold the lowest employment rate in the world.”

In the17th session of the women’s affairs of the Interior Ministry the issues of “women and economy” and “women and poverty” were discussed…Ms. Azam Khatam, a member of Society of Iranian Sociologist, presented her report stating: “Iran holds the lowest female employment rate in the world. This report includes information on discrimination against women in various states, legal challenges and restrictions, as well as social and cultural issue women face…”


State Run - Iranian Student’s News Agency, July 21, 2004

The governor of Char-Mahal Bakhtiyari, Mr. Soltani, announced the numbers of runaway girls are even higher than 60,000, it is more in the range of 150,000.  Soltani said: “A majority of the runway girls are the ones beaten by their families.”..On the issue of violence against women, SamiiZadeh, the state’s director of social affairs added: “our society is vulnerable because such violence lead to rising number of runway girls.”


State Run- Editorial of Jomhori Islami, July 21, 2004

"A message of hope, fear and warning to the new parliament: The true representatives of the people are those who are committed to enforcing Shariah laws. The people of Iran care about their prosperity just like other countries, but they also care a great deal about their religious and cultural identity. The parliamentarians should not ignore the concerns of the people on the issue of religion and culture. The corrupt women and girls are parading the streets of major cities in Iran and are robbing us of our dignity and religion. If this situation continues, how can we think about the future of our country and generations to come?”


PA News, UK - July 28, 2004

A senior aide to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has been arrested following a complaint filed by a woman trying to force him to acknowledge their alleged marriage.  Ataollah Mohajerani, a former culture minister and a popular top reformer, was summoned to a Tehran court and arrested yesterday. The woman, Mahsa Yousefi Deldar said she will publish wedding photos if Mohajerani insists on denying that she is his wife. Jamileh Kadivar, a former MP and Mohajerani’s wife, did not comment. Under Iran’s Islamic laws, a man can have up to four wives at any one time.


Rouydad website, August 2, 2004

Witnesses say that there are intimidating wall graffiti against women and girls in some regions of North Tehran. The graffiti written in large red letters say: “Improper veiling two months imprisonment, bare feet 74 lashes”. Tehran's municipality, which is charged with dealing with these situations, has refrained from cleaning the slogans written by anonymous groups.


Peik-e Iran Website – August 5, 2004

Iran has climbed up to the top 3rd ranking country on death by suicide according to recent reports by the World Health Organization (WHO). The organization reported Iran was ranked 5th in 1991, however, in 2001 Iran ranked 3rd on highest number of suicides after Columbia and India. The report indicates out of 100,000 people, 3 women and one man commits suicide.


E-Zan Featured Reports


The case of Zahrah Kazemi, "the only justice we have come to expect from Iran is injustice"

The Canadian Press

July 24, 2004

An Iranian court's acquittal Saturday of the man charged in the murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi came as no surprise to her son who said "the only justice we have come to expect from Iran is injustice." Stephan Hachemi vowed to continue his fight for justice saying he was looking to Ottawa and the International Court of Justice in The Hague to take up the case. "This is Canada's responsibility to do so," Hachemi, 26, said in an e-mail from Montreal to The Canadian Press hours after the verdict was issued in Tehran…In Montreal, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders called on the Canadian government to keep up the international pressure…"There is no way people who kill there will get away unpunished," Emily Jacquard said. "It's not enough to just recall the ambassador from Tehran. Canada and the European Union have to take up strong, strong sanctions," she said.

Every week two publications are shutdown by the Islamic Fundamentalist regime in Iran, 43 journalists languish in jail

Internews – World News

July 28, 2004


Iranian journalists handcuffed themselves together as a symbol of solidarity against state censorship, at a July 26 gathering at the Association of Journalists in Tehran. Iranian journalists have staged frequent protests but each time faced raids and arrests. Some of the most recent newspaper bans are due to their oblique references to hunger strikes by political prisoners who allegedly were mistreated by guards…Earlier this spring, young women journalists banded together with independent women's rights and freedom of speech groups to object to the sexist portrayal of Iranian women on state radio and television productions. Many at the gathering were arrested.
Meanwhile, Said Mortazavi, the hardline prosecutor who is accused of complicity in the murder of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, continued his campaign to shut down one newspaper after another. Most Iranian newspapers are unable to remain open for more than two months. Some are subject to bans even before they go to press for the first time. The journalists who gathered on July 26 stressed the need for a guarantee of their personal safety while on the job. In their pre-published declaration titled "We Are Journalists," they pointed to the worsening chaos stemming from the widespread closure of newspapers by the judiciary.  They also noted that the lack of internal independent news sources have prompted Iranians to refer to foreign news sources for reliable reports on domestic events… The harsh repression and spread detentions began after the student-led uprising in July 1999, when Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic leader of
Iran, called newspapers "places of opposition to the regime." The lack of a free press has prompted Iranians to appeal for the reinstitution of independent newspapers rather than access on to state radio, television and newspapers.


Olympics 2004: Gender Aparthid for Iranian Women because of Islamic Fundamentalism

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

August 6, 2004

Iran will send a third woman shooter, Nassim Hassanpour, to Athens this year. But certain Olympic sports remain out of reach for Muslim athletes required to wear traditional dress. Mahin Gorji, a journalist in Tehran who specializes in women's sports, says Islamic clothing requirements prohibit Iranian women from competing in most Olympic sports. In others, where robes and head scarves would not be a detriment, the sportswomen are simply not good enough. "[Iran's] women have not been able to meet [the Olympic] standard in Taekwondo and canoeing. They cannot compete in volleyball or swimming or any of the sports other women in the world can participate in, because of dress restrictions. So only Nassim Hassanpour will participate in the Olympics," Gorji said. Paris-based lawyer Linda Weil-Curiel is leading a campaign to force countries to include women in their Olympic delegations. The group, called Atlanta-Sydney-Athens Plus, started its campaign after the 1992 Olympics, when 35 countries -- half of them Muslim -- sent no women athletes. Weil-Curiel says all-male delegations contravene the Olympic charter, which forbids all forms of discrimination. "Just like South Africa [was] banned [from the Olympics] for nearly 30 years because of its apartheid policy, we want the countries who do not allow women to participate to be excluded from the Games. They have to respect the rules of the Olympics, or they don't participate. Why should [the Olympics and other sports events] comply with religious requirements? We're talking about sports, not religion," Weil-Curiel said. Ironically] experts say Islam encourages sports and physical activity for all -- the Prophet Mohammed is said to have invited his wife, Aisha, to a foot race and finished a distant second.


Security forces launching raids and cracking down on women

Agance France Presse

August 7, 2004

NEARLY 200 Iranian women have been arrested for wearing head coverings considered insufficient under the country's Islamic code. Iranian newspapers reported yesterday that security forces recently launched raids in the cities of central Semnan and northern Gilan, arresting 183 women. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, all post-pubescent females must wear the veil and a long coat concealing their bodies, or face fines or imprisonment. Some 132 'badly covered' women were picked up in Semnan province, the Sharq daily reported, adding that 69 of them will face trial. In Gilan, 51 women and girls were arrested 'to fight open spectacles of corruption', the Iran newspaper quoted provincial security forces as saying. Police have been seen taking scores of teenage girls from commercial centers in Teheran, while both police and Islamic militiamen have reportedly stepped up raids on private parties where they suspect the presence of alcohol or mixed-sex dancing. In the historic city of Isfahan, police recently banned women who were improperly veiled from entering public places. They also banned the playing of live music in reception halls and at public events. Observers said that although such anti-vice operations occur every summer, the crackdown could be a sign of further tightening of rules. After winning parliamentary elections in February, hardliners warned that they would not tolerate what they described as social corruption. Women ignoring the Islamic dress code can be jailed for up to two months or fined between 50 000 and 500 000 rials ($6.25 and $62.50).


Behind the veil of Iran’s shooter is a frustrated gymnast

Agance France Presse

August 8, 2004

The only woman athlete Iran is sending to the Athens Olympics is under no illusions of winning a medal in her sport of shooting. In fact, she admits the sport is not her real passion.  “If the dress code was not an issue, I would have preferred to stick with gymnastics. I've been doing that since the age of three,” Nassim Hassanpour, a petite 19-year-old told AFP.  With the Islamic republic viewing tight-fitting leotards as unsuitable public attire for women, Hassanpour is instead restricted to any sport that can be played wearing the obligatory headscarf and long coat. This rules out sports such as gymnastics, swimming, track and field athletics or beach volleyball. Still, facilities for women athletes are sorely lacking in Iran, she complains. And even when they do compete, competitions are held behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the media meaning sponsorship deals are impossible to come by.  “I’ve spent all my savings and borrowed from my mother to get by. My monthly allowance of 1,350,000 rials (US$150) is four months overdue,” she explained, adding that working as a private rollerblading coach has also helped top up her income.


Women are considered as just housewives according to fundamentalists in Iran

Peik-e Iran Website

August 8, 2004

Tehran’s female parliamentarian member, Laleh Eftekhari, proposed a professional training sessions for women to become good and proper housewives. Suggesting this training prior marriage for any woman, she asserts: ”If we had such trainings, the level of divorce and conflicts in marriages will decrease resulting in more successful bonding between man and wife.”  She proudly cited Khomeini saying “men are led to haven because of their women”. She added “Imam Khomeini said these words to define the important role of women”.  She also criticized the CEDAW convention saying “this treaty is only designed to limit women and is heavily influenced by feminist views, even the United States has not signed on to it claiming to have better laws than this treaty. We too have better laws in place for women.”


Gender Apartheid: Segregated parks for women

Reuters News Agency

August 12, 2004

Tehran city council plans to screen off sections in a number of parks so that women can relax and exercise in public without having to adhere to the strict Islamic dress code. "I think a lot of women will welcome the plan, those who felt restricted, those who unlike men could not use public places for playing volleyball, for instance," said Mahnoush Mortamedi, a councilor. All primary and secondary schools and some universities in Iran are segregated, buses have separate sections for men and women and the Tehran underground has women-only carriages. Most sports clubs have separate hours for the two sexes.

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Volume 3, August 15, 2004

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