November 15, 2006 VOLUME 30


To our readers,

Policy of arrest, execution, stoning and public hanging continues to slate as Ahmadinejad enters his second year of presidency. Last week, in a matter of four days, Tehran’s judicial system issued 11 public hanging sentences and carried out seven in various cities throughout the country. There is no doubt that Ahmadinejad’s regime will NOT back down on their escalated violations of human rights. There is no doubt that Tehran will NOT back down on its escalated meddling in Iraq and fueling insurgencies there. There is no doubt that Tehran’s regime will NOT back down from its nuclear weapons drive to exert its hegemonic presence in the region. The world community must act on the growing threat of Tehran’s fundamentalist regime. As WFAFI’s executive director said in her recent article: While deterioration of an already dismal status of women in Iran marks Ahmadinejad’s inhumane policies at home, the world community now realizes the danger of Islamic Fundamentalism that has taken Iraq as hostage. Rhetoric coming from Tehran is not just words; it is in line with sweeping domestic and foreign policy agenda presented by Ahmadinejad. As Iranian women declared in their 2006 protest, “the world community must be conscious of Iran’s war agenda in the region”. Full recognition of public, private and political rights is at the core of women’s war with Tehran’s regime. Echoing their demands in several 2006 rallies, Iranian women emphasize that “democracy will not be possible unless full rights of women are recognized”. The same holds true for Iraq.  No one except Ahmadinejad’s regime benefits from instability and conflict in Iraq. Tehran is notorious to distract the attention from ongoing atrocities at home by exporting and fomenting conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere. The time to look for viable indigenous solution to the growing Tehran-problem both in Iran and Iraq is now. Empowering Iranian opposition group who have ties with Iraqi people should be the first step to deal with Ahmadinejad and his expansionist misogynous regime.

E-Zan Featured Headlines

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office– October 16, 2006

The past 12 months have seen a continued deterioration in the human rights situation in Iran. There have been repeated serious violations of freedom of expression and association. Officials who were implicated in internal repression in the1980s and 1990s have been appointed as government ministers. Women’s rights: Women in Iran also suffer from widespread discrimination, despite having some limited rights and freedoms which women lack elsewhere in the region. The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women visited Iran in early 2005. She reported that, while some positive steps have been taken to elevate women’s status in recent years, there are still “gaps in guaranteeing gender equality”. A woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man, making it difficult to secure convictions for domestic violence and rape. Arbitrary arrests and violence by security forces marred International Women’s Day celebrations in Tehran in March 2006 and a protest by Iranian women in Tehran in June 2006.


Iran Focus – October 21, 2006

Girls as young as nine are running away from their homes and living on the streets in Iran, according to a classified report issued by the Ministry of Education. The report was made public by several Persian-language news websites run by former government officials. It notes that there is an exceptionally high number of run-away girls near Iran's holy cities of Qom and Mashad. Iran has one of the highest records of runaway girls and women in the world. The state-run news agency ILNA reported in July that there were some 300,000 run-away women and girls in Iran and that 86 percent of girls who ran away from their homes for the first time were raped. The majority of such victims are rejected by their families if they choose to return after having been raped.


BBC News Agency – October 23, 2006

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he disagrees with the idea that two children are enough, local newspapers and news agencies report. This is despite the fact his country has one of the most successful family planning programs in the Middle East. The president said he was ready to decrease the working hours of married women or women with children to make it easier for them to have more children. In the 1980s, the average Iranian woman had six children, now two is normal. But President Ahmadinejad is questioning that achievement. He says he is against the idea that two children is enough. His view is that Western countries are just scared about Iran's population growing and overtaking theirs. The president says he is not against women working, but he thinks they can work part-time but be paid full-time to allow them to spend more time with their children. Although this idea might appeal to some women, the likelihood is that it will damage women's chances of being employed, because it will make it more complicated and expensive to hire a woman.


Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy – October 24, 2006

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday announced that his administration would reduce the working hours of women in an attempt to encourage them to have more children, the New York Times reports. The announcement represents a change in a nearly two decades-long policy that encouraged men to undergo vasectomies and offered people access to no-cost birth control after a rapid population increase was "seen as an obstacle to development," according to the Times (Fathi, New York Times, 10/24). The effort aims to increase the country's population, which stands at about 70 million, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. "It is said that two children is enough. I oppose this," Ahmadinejad said, adding, "Our country has a lot of capacities. It even has the capacity for 120 million people" (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

10/23). Ahmadinejad said he supports women working outside their homes but fears that the time allotted to work hinders them from "performing their most important duty: raising the children of the next generation".


Agance France Presse – October 25, 2006

Iran's female karate team is to boycott December's Asian Games after the Asian Karate Federation refused to approve the wearing of Islamic headscarves during fights. A spokesperson for the Iranian Karate Federation Jabar Pur-Hosseini, explained that the ban was imposed due to a "technical matter" related to what would be done if the garment were to slip during a bout.


AKI New Agency – October 26, 2006

Iranian Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has issued a fatwa - a Muslim religious edict - saying it is legitimate for men to hit their disobedient wives. Shirazi, one of the leading clerics of the Shiite holy city of Qom, wrote on his website that "the Koran first of all advises a man to try and convince his wife to obey to him in a polite way and through advice, then by refusing to have sexual relations with her and, finally, if all this will have failed to make her reason, with physical punishment." The punishment, the leading cleric said, "must be light and considered an exceptional event, like surgery in case of a serious illness." Makarem Shirazi advised his readers against "physical punishment which leaves signs and wounds." Women, he explained, "are masochistic and sometimes they have a crisis and need light physical punishment to get back to normal."

Iranian women’s rights activists have launched a campaign to remove the sentence of death by stoning from the statute books in the Islamic republic, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported on Wednesday.


Agance France Presse – November 1, 2006

“This is a campaign to secure the repeal of the stoning law so that there will be no further such verdicts carried out,” women’s rights lawyer Shadi Sadr told the news agency. She said research conducted by fellow activists had shown that the sentence had been handed down by a court in the northeastern pilgrimage city of Mashhad as recently as April against a man and a woman convicted of adultery. “In our investigations, we found out about nine women and two men in different Iranian jails who had been sentenced to stoning,” she said. Capital offences in the Islamic republic include murder, rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, serious drug trafficking, repeated sodomy, adultery or prostitution, treason and espionage. There have been at least 104 executions in Iran so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on press and witness reports. Amnesty International has said there were 94 executions in Iran last year.


State Run Daily Resalat – November 2, 2006

The chief of the State Security Forces (SSF) in Greater Tehran, Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Radan, announced the creation of “Women Police Precincts” in Tehran. Simultaneously, the chief of State Prisons, Ali-Akbar Vesaghi declared, “At present, there are 140,000 prisoners held in the countries’ prisons … but, the people whose are dangerous for society if released only amount to 10,000 to 12,000.”  


NCR Website – November 2, 2006

According to the state-run daily Rooz, “In May 2006, two people identified as Mahboubeh M. and Abbass H. were stoned to death in the northern city of Mashhad.” The daily added, “Mahboubeh and Abbass were treated as if they were dead already. According to Islamic rituals, they were cleaned and wrapped in shrouds by the undertaker. Being a female, Mahboubeh was buried alive up to her shoulders, and Abbass was buried in the ground up to his waist. Then, they were stoned to death gradually by the volunteers who had come for the stoning. Media news reports only said that they were executed.” Rooz added that 9 women identified as Parisa A. (Adel-Abad Prison in the southern city of Shirz), Kobra N. (Tabriz Prison in the northern city of Tabiz), Khireh V., and Iran A. (Sepidar Prison in the southern city of Ahwaz), Malek (a.k.a Shamameh) Ghorbani (Orumeh Prison in the northern city of Orumieh), Hajieh Esmail-Vand (Jolfa Prison in northern Iran), Soqra Molaii ( Varamin Prison in south Tehran), Ashraf Kalhori (Evin Prison in Tehran), Fatemeh (in a prison in Tehran Province) and Zahra Rezaii (Rajaii-Shahr Prison in Karaj, west Tehran) and two men identified as Abdullah Farivar (Sari Prison in northern city of Sari) and Najaf A. (Adel-Abad Prison in the southern city of Shirz) are also awaiting their death sentences by stoning to be carried out.


State Run News Agency ISNA – November 5, 2006

Leyla Maeazedi, the chief officer of women’s police station in Mashhad says the highest number of the charges against arrested girls is running away from home. Due to the severity and urgency of this ordeal, we have established a close working relationship with other police stations in different districts. Also, we have reduced contacts between run-away girls and male police officers in order to minimize corruptions, human trafficking and law enforcement misconducts.

E-Zan Featured Reports

Letter from an anonymous person whose mother was stoned to death twenty six years ago

From the Iranian the blog of Azadeh Pourzand

October 2006

A few weeks ago my mother, Mehrangiz Kar, wrote an article about stoning to death in Iran. She received many different feedbacks for her article that was published in Farsi. Among those responses we found an astonishing letter from an anonymous person whose mother was stoned to death twenty six years ago. Since the strength of the words of this letter paralyzed my body and mind for a few minutes, I decided to quickly translate the text. According to Article 83 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, stoning to death has been declared a permissible punishment for a few different types of adultery. Full text of the translation read:


I read your recent article about stoning to death.

Reading your article reminded me of the bleeding bruises in my heart once again.

You wrote about murdering by stoning?

Have you ever held a bloody tool in your hands with which they have murdered your mother?

Have you ever touched the bloody skin and hair of your mother who has just been killed in a deep hole?

Have you ever followed the line of your mother's blood in order to find her corpse thrown at the back of a truck?

Have you ever seen the fresh grave of that dearest being with a small piece of paper on which they have written her name wrapped around a small branch of tree?

Has anyone ever said a word about the children of the people who have been stoned to death?

I was fourteen and now I am forty.

To quote psychologists, I am one of the most fortunate people on this planet. I am fortunate, because despite this contempt in my life I have been able to continue my higher education and find myself a wife, children and a credible job without letting a single black spot remain in my life.

Do you even understand what it means to be the child of a person who has been shamefully stoned to death?

If Islamic clerics tell you that you could not win over the Islamic laws, they have, indeed told you the truth.

My mother used to tell me that she had become a sex-worker in order to feed us and to support us. She used to command us in being real men.

She used to tell us to stand on our own feet and to never lose our hope in Ali (the first imam in Shiasm).

Seriously who would want to sell her body, to sell her sex to anonymous men except for those women who have no other way of feeding their children?

If the husband knows how to make money, the wife and the mother of the family does not have to go and seek customers.

The economic situation needs to improve and single mothers or those mothers whose husbands do not have the ability or the willpower to work, should be able to seek help from the government.

You must establish an organization for supporting these women. It does not have to be a very rich organization in the beginning. No one has the right to condemn you for seeking financial support from different sources for these types of support organizations. Women like my mother who was eventually stoned to death need your help. They need the world's help and support. Their forgotten families, too, need the world's help. Help them!

Executing people for having not immoral actions is not going to have an effective result.

Tell me how many people have been executed and stoned to death since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in Iran? What is the result of all of this violence other than the fact that the evil is now truly dominating our society?

I never forget the last words of my mother's Islamic judge:

"I issued a verdict for stoning this woman to death so that other individuals learn a lesson from her doomed fate and to avoid sins of such nature. To execute by shooting would not have made her suffer enough!"

Alas. Twenty six years ago my mother was stoned to death before my eyes. Has these women's tragic fate helped our society improve?

Statistics show that the rates of prostitution and corruption have increased exponentially.

God bless you.


Documentary discusses social problems in Iran

Film, "Epitaph," speaker Ana Sami address prostitution

Daliah Singer

October 24, 2006

"Epitaph," a documentary focusing on prostitution in Iran, was shown last week by the DU Law Chapter of Amnesty International. The event featured commentary by Ana Sami, a graduate student at Colorado School of Mines. An epitaph is a statement commemorating a deceased person.

Sami has been involved with human rights in Iran since she saw "the bruised back of a man who was flogged continuously under the charge of having alcohol in his car."

Prostitution has become a major social problem in Iran, with approximately half a million prostitutes in the country. Of these women, 300,000 are living in the capital, Tehran, according to Sami. Their average age is 20, but some are as young as 10, said Sami. The documentary featured Iranian women speaking in Farsi with English subtitles. Most were seated in the shadows, only a handful allowing the audience to see their faces. Their names were not revealed. Many of the women spoke about why they became involved in prostitution. It was not by choice but out of necessity. "I'm engaged in all this misery for the sake of my children," said one woman. This statement was echoed by many. A 19-year-old girl also featured in the film became a prostitute to have enough money to raise her younger siblings. Many of these women are divorced. Said one woman in the movie, divorced women have "nowhere to go" and are treated as "dead bodies."

When another woman attempted to gain custody of her child, the judge told her to become his mistress. Parents and/or husbands with drug problems were another reason women are turning to prostitution, according to Sami. Many of the girls who become prostitutes are also runaways. "Most runaway girls in Iran are raped within the first 24 hours," said Sami. According to Donna M. Hughes, a professor at the University of Rhode Island and an international researcher on the trafficking of Women and children, "the [runaway] girls are rebelling against fundamentalist imposed restrictions on their freedom, domestic abuse and parental drug addictions." Prostitution is illegal in Iran. "To prove prostitution, the actual act of intercourse must have been witnessed by two men or four women," said Sami. "In Iran, the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man." The punishment is typically 80 lashes with a whip for both men and women. Iran's Islamic law permits temporary marriages, sigheh, in which two people can be married for as little as one hour. In that time, all rights associated with a traditional marriage are upheld. Sex is not considered adulterous during the sigheh. The high occurrence of prostitution has a "strong connection" to the political structure of Iran, said Sami. "It is society which is doing harm to us. I only do harm to myself and my daughter," said a woman in the documentary. Most of the women in the movie hold those in charge responsible.

One woman blamed "the restrictions of our [Iranian] society" for the many who become prostitutes as a means of survival. "Epitaph" was brought to Sturm College of Law because Sami believes it is important for students, particularly law students, to be aware of how human rights are being violated. "Iran is one of the worst cases of government instituted violations of human rights the world has ever seen," said Sami. "I cannot sit idly as women are being abused and suffering grave injustices." 

"If women in Iran are putting their lives on the line for freedom, then it is my obligation to defend them and to do whatever I can to help save them." "I have therefore made it my mission to tell the world of the atrocities that are the lives of these women," said Sami.


Plight of Women in Iran: Unemployment, Drugs and Prostitution

WFAFI Research

November 2006

Corruption in society and state sponsored violence against women leads some Iranian women to become involved in drugs or prostitution. According to research that was done by two social workers in Iran, the number of drug addicted women in Iran has risen by 10% annually.  The research also offered the following about the status of women in Iran:


Women and Employment - Women’s unemployment been on the rise by the downward spiral of the nations level of unemployment. The bureau of statistics reports that 88.7% of women with higher or secondary education in urban areas and 59.4% in rural areas are unemployed. Between the years 1997 to 2001 this figure has quadrupled. Higher education, the increase in age of marriage, divorce, and single parenting, are among the reasons for loss of jobs.

In 1996, 71% of the unemployed were 30 years old or younger. In 2003, the number has increased to 82%. The unemployment rate for men between 15-29 years of age increased from 14% to 19% between the years 1996-2003, this is only a 5% increase. The unemployment rate for women on the other hand increased from 21% to 37%, this is a 16% increase.


Addictions among women in Iran - A considerable number of women are driven to drug addition for the following reasons: poverty, despair, lack of family and guardian support, and most importantly social disorders and state sponsored violence. Once women get involved in prostitution often host clients, who are criminals, force them to drug addiction. The smugglers use these women for the distribution of drugs and human trafficking. Women from all walks of life including ethnic groups or social status are victims of drug addiction; no one is immune to this fast spreading threat. The amount of drugs that law enforcements discovers and confiscates is disappointing and it indicates the magnitude of their own involvement in drug trafficking. Drug use in Iran is the undeniable product of poverty, discrimination, abnormal economics, unemployment, corruption on the government level who are primarily responsible for establishing such enterprises in Iran. This includes the department of education, public health, and social security. Based on the above sources, in the UK there is one drug dealer per 25 drug users while the in Iran is 1 to 4 respectively.


Prostitution - There are no reliable statistics in regards to prostitution and that is because the sensitivity of the issue and its relation with other social problems and the denial of society in accepting this truth. According to the head of the social services, the age of prostitutes has decreased in the past two decades. A considerable number of runaway girls are the subject of sexual abuse during the first week of being away from the family. Decreasing the number of trafficking does not mean improvement due to the fact that the smugglers are becoming professionals and learning to operate under-cover. Demolishing the brothels and burning the prostitutes alive definitely has not been a legitimate way to address this social disorder; as the result prostitution has become an underground epidemic to the point that the age of prostitution has decreased to the age of 13 years or less. The phenomenon of prostitution is the direct result of ignoring women’s basic needs and many other different factors. As long as the root of the problem is not resolved this ugly aspect of society will continue to grow.


Stoning of women marks Ahmadinejad’s first year in the office

By Jila Kazerounian, Executive Director of WFAFI

Global Politician

November 14, 2006

Misogyny is the pillar of the ideology Ahmadinejad defends and represents. Beyond inhumane punishments such as stoning, limitations on the lives of women are enforced by the constitution. Violence against women is seen in various courts and legal bodies that prohibit women from attaining private and public rights. Private rights such as clothing, divorce, custody, inheritance, abortion and mobility are a matter of legal battles for women in Iran. Public and political rights such as presidency, leadership, judgeship and various educational fields are at the core of women’s war on fundamentalism.

In May 2006, Zohreh Tabibzadeh-Nouri, advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was appointed head of the Iranian Center for Women and Family Affairs. Upon taking office, she declared her philosophy, saying: "I do not deny that there are gaps in the [Iranian] law when it comes to protection of women's rights... [However,] as long as I live and remain in charge of this center, I will not let anyone sign international charters [or] declarations of international conferences on women's rights, since we can [fix] the gaps and existing problems through the Islamic faith. I see no reason to follow the unsuccessful Western model."

Inhumane practice of stoning is not among the gaps that Mrs. Tabibzadeh-Nouri, Ahmadinejad’s advisor, plans to fix. Iran is the only country in the world that practices stoning to execute those who commit adultery. The misogynous practice is outlined in Iran’s civil code and practiced in public as a method of intimidation and enforcement of moral “Islamic” value. Article 102 of the Penal code, states that married offenders (adulterers) are liable to stoning regardless of their gender, but the method laid down for a man stipulates he be buried up to his waist, and a woman up to her neck. Article 114 of Iran’s civil codes states, “When rajm [stoning] is being administered on a man he must be placed in a pit almost down to his waist, and when administered on a woman she must be placed in a pit almost down to her chest.”

There has been a sharp rise in condemning men and women to stoning since Ahmadinejad came to office. While there are 11 people facing stoning in Iran, nine are women. According to Amnesty International, “The sentence of execution by stoning for adultery breaches Iran's commitment under article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that death sentences will be imposed only for the most serious crimes."

In a recent letter written in the prison by the 22 year old Kobra Rahmanpur, under the sentence of stoning, states:” I want to live! I am a human being just like you. I do not want to die. However I am now a soulless body in fear of the execution who has forgotten how to laugh and be happy. A lot of people say to me how come your case has been so much publicized but you are still in prison? I have to tell them that I am only steps away from execution. I too like all of you am afraid of dying. Please help me so that this would not be my last letter.”

Kobra’s letter is a reminder to the world community that although international pressure may have postponed the stoning, the death verdict may be carried out at anytime.

While deterioration of an already dismal status of women in Iran marks Ahmadinejad’s inhumane policies at home, the world community now realizes the danger of Islamic Fundamentalism that has taken Iraq as hostage. Rhetoric coming from Tehran is not just words; it is in line with sweeping domestic and foreign policy agenda presented by Ahmadinejad. As Iranian women declared in their 2006 protest, “the world community must be conscious of Iran’s war agenda in the region”. Full recognition of public, private and political rights is at the core of women’s war with Tehran’s regime. Echoing their demands in several 2006 rallies, Iranian women emphasize that “democracy will not be possible unless full rights of women are recognized”. The same holds true for Iraq.
No one except Ahmadinejad’s regime benefits from instability and conflict in
Iraq. Tehran is notorious to distract the attention from ongoing atrocities at home by exporting and fomenting conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere. The time to look for viable indigenous solution to the growing Tehran-problem both in Iran and Iraq is now. Empowering Iranian opposition group who have ties with Iraqi people should be the first step to deal with Ahmadinejad and his expansionist misogynous regime.

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Volume 30, November 15, 2006

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