June 15, 2007 VOLUME 37
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
On May 8th, Haleh Esfandiari's arrest came amid a crackdown on Iranian activists, including women, teachers, labor and student movements. Prior to her arrest, as the director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center and frequent traveler to Iran, Esfandiari championed the policy of unconditional engagement with Tehran's fundamentalist regime. Her unlawful and unjustifiable arrest comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran. Now days, Tehran's regime describes her as a "Mossad spy." Like many inside and outside of Iran, she is accused of involvement in efforts to topple Tehran's regime. For the record, Esfandiari was never an advocate of any kind of revolution in Iran. In fact, in her Washington's capacity, she frequently hosted officials and delegates from Tehran's regime to broker a deal between US and Iran. On May 9th, Washington Post reported that Esfandiari has been asked by Tehran's notorious Intelligence Ministry, to "cooperate" with their officials. While we pray for her security and safety, her fate remains uncertain. Esfandiari is now on the list of the latest hostages in the political game between Washington and Tehran. And until there is a clear US-policy on how to deal with the ever more unpredictable and self-serving fundamentalist regime in Tehran, victims like Esfandiari will continue to face insecurity and uncertainty.
The fact remains that if Tehran was capable of rational thinking and behaviour to allow engagement and reforms, more than Washington, it would have been the Iranian people standing first in line. Because of real calls for engagement and reforms, thousands of journalists, intellectuals, women and students have been killed by this regime. They should not be forgotten. Beyond Iran, this regime will stop at nothing to secure its Islamic empire and spread its fundamentalist wings across Iraq and Lebanon. Tehran's fundamentalist regime is now a global threat. So, when Iranian women, youth and union movements turn their back on this regime, Washington and others must follow. Unlike the unforgivable and inexcusable reading by some analysts who view the recent protests in Iran as sings of "soft revolution", the students, women, teachers and labor unions are risking their lives for a real change to remove this regime in its entirety.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
AKI Italian News Agency - May 15, 2007
Iranian health minister Kamran Bagheri Lamkarani has presented a reform under which men and women would be divided in public hospitals under a new moralization campaign which kicked off last month. Under the new provisions, women would be treated only by female doctors and nurses and male patients would only be in contact with medics of the same gender. This follows a rigid interpretation of Sharia law which forbids physical contact between men and women. A major problem with this change is the higher number of male medics compared to women, although 67 percent of medical students in Iran are today women. However, the ministry has said the change could be gradual.
Agence France Presse - May 15, 2007
Iranian police have prevented 50 women from boarding
flights in their ongoing crackdown on dress styles deemed to be out of line with
Islamic dress rules, officials said Sunday. "Fifty badly-veiled women were
prevented from boarding domestic and international flights for failing to
respect Islamic dress rules," said the head of airport police Mamoud Bot Shekane,
according to the Fars news agency. He said that the airport police have handed
out "17,135 warnings to women who are not fully respecting the Islamic veil and
850 of them have had to make a written pledge to respect the veil more." Out of
these, the cases of 80 women as well as 50 men have been sent to the judicial
authorities, he added. Iran's police have been enforcing a nationwide crackdown
on slack dressing for the past three weeks - a regular pre-summer event that has
been pursued with increased vehemence this year. Women in Iran are obliged to
cover all body contours and their heads, but in recent years many have pushed
the boundaries by showing off naked ankles and fashionably-styled hair beneath
AKI Italian News Agency - May 15, 2007
Iranian authorities have ordered university deans to
change all teaching schedules in order for them not to coincide with the five
daily Muslim prayers under a new moralization campaign. Hossein Khaleghi, the
deputy science and technology minister, who is also in charge of university
education, ordered that lessons should never be scheduled during prayer time and
must be stopped immediately after the call for prayer. University students in
Tehran, Lorestaand Shiraz in the west, Babol near the Caspian sea, have been
staging protests in the past few weeks against new government measures imposing
strict new dress codes and opening hours on campus as well as restrictions on
political activity. A number of students including members of top Tehran
university, the Amir Kabir Polytechnic, have been arrested and accused of
'contacts with foreign powers to overthrow the Islamic government'.
Agence France Presse - May 15, 2007
Iran will soon start manufacturing "Islamic
bicycles" for women to allow them to remain largely hidden from view as they
ride. The government newspaper "Iran" quotes an architect of the project, Elaheh
Sofali, as saying the bike has a cabin that conceals half of the cyclist's body.
Sofali said the new bike will encourage women's sports in the Islamic republic.
Women must cover their heads and conceal their body shapes in public under
Iran's strict dress codes.
The Washington Post - May 19, 2007
The 16 female U.S. senators appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon yesterday to take "urgent action" with Iran to win the release of imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari and journalist Parnaz Azima, who has been refused permission to leave the country. "The detention of these women is inexplicable and unjustifiable," the senators said in a letter to Ban. "Detaining Dr. Esfandiari and Ms. Azima on questionable grounds contradicts the very essence of their work: to promote peace, reconciliation and freedom for all. We urge you to intervene...in order to end their unjust detention."
Asharq Al-Awsat, May 19, 2007
[In] Karbala, the majority of the city’s original
residents complain of [Iranian] presence. Among the negative aspects that
Hussein al Khafagi, a retired teacher, lists is, “Drugs. This Iranian presence
has brought with it drugs that we did not know of before. Here you can see
hashish being sold almost publicly. Iraqi security forces have managed to arrest
entire Iranian families dealing hashish. The situation has become one where
those seeking hashish come from Baghdad and other Iraqi cities to buy this
poison in Karbala,” he said. Mutaa’ marriages [temporary marriage based on
consummation] have become widespread among the Iranian women,” al Khafagi added.
“As Shia in Iraq, we do not approve of this type of marriage. It was once only
known to a small minority but now it has become prevalent in Karbala and mutaa’
marriages have become widespread among Iranian women and Iraqi men. But it’s
become even worse; we now see Iraqi women offering themselves for mutaa’
marriage so as to alleviate their difficult economic situations. I am not
talking about that particular group and what is allowed and forbidden by our
jurisprudence – I am not a cleric. However, I have spent years rearing and
educating generations of our children and I do not want to see them deviate
today by chasing after hashish and marriages to Iranians or Iraqis that last an
hour or two...” he said.
Reuters - May 20, 2007
Iran rejected on Sunday criticism by a U.S.-based rights group over a crackdown on women flouting the strict Islamic dress code, saying the country's efforts were aimed at "fighting morally corrupt people." Asked about the criticism of the national crackdown launched last month, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters he was surprised, adding:"Officials are trying to provide security for the whole Iranian nation and fighting rebels, drug smugglers and morally corrupt people who are violating both Iranian citizens and their belongings." Under sharia, Islamic law, imposed after Iran's 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures.Violators can be given lashes, fines and imprisonment. Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the presidency in 2005, promising a return to the values of the revolution, hardliners have pressed for tighter controls on "immoral behaviour".
NCRI Website - May 21, 2007
The advisor to the Minister and head of Women's
Affairs in Education Ministry, Zahra Soweizi called the Iranian women's
positions 'very humiliating,' in a meeting in northern city of Sari on Sunday,
May 20. She said: "Those who leave the cycle of Islamic dress and veiling are in
the territory of animals." The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Soweizi and
called this policy as 'obeying the rule of God.'
Reuters - May 21, 2007
Iran's first female-only Internet cafe has opened
near the capital Tehran aimed at creating an "appropriate atmosphere" for young
women, a semi-official Iranian news agency said on Monday. Under strict Islamic
law introduced after Iran's 1979 revolution, men and women who are not related
should not mix in public, even though this ban is often broken in practice, for
example in several Internet cafes in Tehran. "The atmosphere of most Internet
cafes in the city is not appropriate for girls, therefore this Internet cafe has
been started up in a complete female atmosphere," Mehr News Agency said. Iranian
officials say strict rules on sex segregation as well as the Islamic dress code
for women are aimed at protecting them and are not restricting their rights.
Parts of Iranian beaches are reserved for women and there are also parks for
women only. Officials have previously announced the establishment of a
female-only island in a northwestern lake as well as a taxi company serving
Catholic News.com - May 31, 2007
Christian women in Iraq are being warned that they
must wear the Islamic head scarf or face punishment, the Middle Eastern news
agency AINA reports. AINA says that the influential Iraqi Shi'ite leader Moqtada
al Sadr has issued a statement calling upon all women, Muslim or Christian, to
wear the traditional Islamic veil. Those women who refuse to obey this order
should be confined to their homes, the radical Muslim cleric said. Al Sadr's
order could be enforced by the Mahdi militia group that he commands.
BBC News - June 2, 2007
Iran's Interior Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi,
has started promoting temporary marriage as a solution to the country's social
Shia Islam allows a man and woman to marry for a fixed period of time, ranging from an hour to a century. A man can also have any number of temporary marriages - or sigheh, as they are known. However, Iranian society still looks down on temporary marriage as a cover for prostitution. Iran's interior minister, himself a cleric, said marriage was a human need and temporary marriage should not be used just for sex but to solve social problems. He said there needed to be a cultural change to allow this. He also said couples should marry at an earlier age.
Iran first started promoting temporary marriage as an alternative to living in sin 15 years ago. The then President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, said it was a way for men and women to satisfy their sexual needs. He even said there was no need for a cleric: the couple could read out an oath in private in order to marry. These days, some girls who want to travel with their boyfriends and be allowed to stay in the same hotel room or avoid arrest by the moral police might have a temporary marriage. Poor women who need financial support also do it. There are already tens of thousands of children from temporary marriages whose fathers will not acknowledge them and are therefore considered illegitimate. One Friday prayer leader has suggested that Iran needs a centre to help young people find spouses. Meanwhile, a hardline newspaper has complained that a travel agent in Tehran has been advertising holidays by the Caspian Sea for couples who want to have temporary marriages, offering accommodation and a cleric to register the marriage.
Agence France Presse - June 12, 2007
A hardline Iranian daily yesterday launched an attack on former reformist president Mohammad Khatami who it said had publicly shaken hands with women while on a visit to Italy last month. "Recently a video has been circulating on the Internet showing a former top official visiting Italy, shaking the hands with several women and young girls," said the Siasate Rouz daily, one of Iran's most ultra-conservative papers. "We do not want to publish the address of the Internet site where this film can be seen, in order to avoid propagating corruption in society," it added. The paper carefully avoided naming Khatami although he is the only "former top official" to have visited Italy in recent months. Khatami's trip at the start of May saw him meet Italian leaders as well as Pope Benedict XVI. According to Shariah law, it is forbidden for a man to have any physical contact with a woman to whom he is not related. Pictures circulating on the Internet show Khatami shaking hands with several female tourists. Whether at home or on trips abroad, Iran's officials studiously avoid handshakes with female foreign dignitaries and, at most, place their right hands on their hearts to express gratitude.
Iran Focus - June 12, 2007
The U.S. State Department accused Iran on Tuesday of
being a major hub of human trafficking..."Iran is a source, transit, and
destination country for women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual
exploitation and involuntary servitude", the report said. "Iranian women are
trafficked internally for the purpose of forced prostitution and forced
marriages to settle debts. Children are trafficked internally and from
Afghanistan for the purpose of forced marriages, commercial sexual exploitation,
and involuntary servitude as beggars or laborers. "According to nongovernmental
sources, Iranian women and girls are also trafficked to Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar,
Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for
commercial sexual exploitation. Media sources reported that 54 Iranian females
between the ages of 16 and 25 are sold into commercial sexual exploitation in
Pakistan every day.The Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant
efforts to do so. Credible reports indicate that Iranian authorities commonly
punish victims of trafficking with beatings, imprisonment, and execution.
Sources report that the Iranian government fails to meet the minimum standards
for protection of victims of trafficking by prosecuting and, in some cases,
executing victims for morality-based offenses as a direct result of being
trafficked. The Government of Iran did not improve its protection of trafficking
victims this year. The government reportedly punishes victims for unlawful acts
committed as a direct result of being trafficked; for instance, victims
reportedly are arrested and punished for violations of morality standards such
as adultery, defined as sexual relations outside of marriage. Although it is
unclear how many victims are subjected to punishment for acts committed as a
result of their trafficking experience, there were reports that child victims of
sex trafficking have been executed for their purported crime of prostitution or
adultery. The government runs 28 "health houses" set up by the state-operated
Welfare Association to provide assistance to unmarried girls who have run away
from their homes and who are at risk of being trafficked. However, girls
reportedly are abused in these shelters, even by shelter staff and other
government officials. The Government of Iran should take immediate and
significant steps to prevent the punishment of trafficking victims and should
improve the protection services available to victims", the report said.
E-Zan Featured Reports
Life for women in Iran beset by fate, culture
By Margaret Coker
COX News Service
May 16, 2007
Growing up female in Iran, Layla
did not know happiness. At age 13, her family sold her to a man who forced her
into prostitution. At 18, she was arrested and sentenced to death for adultery,
while her pimp only paid a fine. In contrast, Shadi Sadr, an Iranian lawyer, was
raised with the world at her feet. When small, her parents encouraged her
education. As a young adult, she was free to travel and marry a man whom she
loved. These women's different fates aren't unusual in Iran, an Islamic republic
of 70 million people, where on the same street some women run businesses while
others walk anonymously behind their husbands, waiting to speak until given
In Iran, women can drive, vote and own property. They also can be legally independent from male relatives -- a status that is rare in the rest of the region, where the male-dominant tenets of Islam and tribal culture often subjugate women. Yet Iran's legal system also codifies traditions that confer second-class status for women. A woman's testimony in court is worth half that of a man's. A girl is considered an adult under the law at age 9, but the age for boys is 13. The laws also deny women equal rights in divorce, custody and inheritance.
But Layla's story -- a young woman forced into prostitution and condemned to death for it -- is extraordinary in how it turned out.
Her fate changed two years ago, when Ms. Sadr, a crusading lawyer on women's rights in Iran, walked into her cell and saved her. Today, Layla lives in a women's shelter, ready to start a new life at age 22. Her family name is being withheld at the request of the shelter where she lives, for fear that people from her past might seek retribution for telling her story.
Layla's ruddy face carries an easy smile, and the sparkle in her walnut brown eyes offers no hint of the harshness of her past.
"When I was little, I didn't have any dreams for my life," said Layla. "All my life, people hurt me ... until Shadi came. Now, each day is better than the last." A Persian proverb says: If fate doesn't adjust to you, adjust yourself to fate. It has been used to console women -- and resign them -- to the harsh realities of life in Iran. Ms. Sadr and her colleagues want to banish this proverb from everyday life.
Growing up chattel
Layla grew up with her parents and two brothers in a three-bedroom home in Arak, an industrial city about 120 miles south of Tehran. She helped her mother around the house, a task that her father told her made it impossible for her to attend school.
Her father rarely worked, a situation typical for families in the crime-infested, working-class town. To get money, Layla's parents sold her to a man who they knew wanted to prostitute her, Ms. Sadr and Layla's social workers said.
For a father to sell his daughter is legal in Iran if done in the form of a marriage contract. At the age of 13, Layla became the legal wife of her pimp. The cultural and legal traditions of Iran left her no way out. Girls are raised to obey their fathers. Once married, women have to obey their husbands. Judges, no matter the circumstances, usually side with the man in cases related to domestic disputes, said lawyers practicing civil and domestic law. That was Layla's predicament when police arrested her at 18, having survived two pregnancies and the trauma of having to give up both babies. Authorities charged her with prostitution and adultery. While awaiting trial, Layla tried to defend herself against the charges. She told stories of incest at home as a child and physical brutality from her husband. "My whole, life nobody listened to me, no one understood my problems, and no one believed me when I told them the terrible things that had happened. Everybody judged me and thought the sexual abuse was my fault," Layla recalled.
When he heard her accusations, the judge decided she was responsible for seducing her brother. He sentenced Layla to death by stoning — the punishment the Koran commands for both adultery and incest.
A different life
Ms. Sadr, 33, decided to become a lawyer because stories like Layla's were too close for comfort, even for someone with her privileged and independent life. Most university students in Iran are women. Parliament has a small but consistent number of elected female members. Women excel in all fields open to them: the arts, education, business, law. Behind many of these successful women are tales of female relatives whose yearnings were quashed by tradition or religion. For Ms. Sadr, that person was her grandmother, one of the first girls in Iran allowed to attend school in the 1930s, thanks to a decree by the monarch and reformer Reza Shah Pahlavi, who ruled Iran until his abdication in 1941. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ruled Iran until he was overthrown by the 1979 Islamic revolution. Ms. Sadr's grandmother completed sixth grade and dreamed of becoming a teacher or midwife. But Ms. Sadr said her great-grandfather forced her grandmother at age 13 to marry someone more than three times her age, consigning her to a life as a housewife. Ms. Sadr didn't want her life to turn out like that, and doesn't want such a fate for her daughter Darya, 7. "My grandmother wasn't allowed the life she wanted. I was lucky. I achieved everything, but the struggle was still hard. I didn't want the dearest person in my life to have the same troubles," said Ms. Sadr, a petite woman with spiky, dark hair and a strong voice. Ms. Sadr spent years as a muckraking journalist before going to law school — a career switch prompted when the government shut down the reformist newspapers where she published unflattering stories about the treatment of women within the Islamic system. For the past three years, she has operated a pro-bono legal service helping dozens of women. She has secured the release of eight women from death row after their adultery convictions were overturned. Her cause has not been easy. Ms. Sadr has spent time in prison, including a recent three-week stint for organizing women's rights demonstrations in Tehran. Practicing law, the odds are against her, too.
Soon after the 1979 revolution, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a prohibition against female judges. Ayatollah Khomeini said that a woman's brain was not developed enough for such decision-making. Female justices — including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi — lost their positions. The male clerics who now run the judiciary interpret laws more harshly against women, said Ms. Sadr and other human rights lawyers. "It's a monopoly of power," she explained. "They have a mentality that is very traditional, and a bias against nontraditional women. It's a constant struggle for justice."
In 2004, a friend told Ms. Sadr about Layla's case. She found the young woman languishing in prison, alone in her misery and catatonic. Ms. Sadr presented an appellate defense based on the Koranic injunctions of mercy and charity. The court saw merit in the argument because of Layla's deteriorating mental state. Ms. Sadr persuaded the judge to sever the legal relationship between Layla and her family and make her Layla's custodian.In 2005, when Layla was freed, Ms. Sadr brought her to Tehran and enlisted help from a network of women working to rehabilitate thousands of women and girls abused by Iran's system. They include homeless girls, victims of rape, divorcees and prostitutes. In the eyes of traditional Iranian society, they all have one thing in common: the presumption that all have lost their virginity, and therefore, their worth. "Girls and women like that ... are completely written off by the government and by most of society. We don't believe that is true," said Marjaneh Halati, a trained psychotherapist who founded Omid e Mehr, the women's shelter in downtown Tehran where Layla now lives.
The government also runs shelters for abused women that provide them with beds and meals. But Omid e Mehr is a rarity in Iran because it provides a way for girls to escape the shackles of their past and not be defined by it. The center provides individual and group therapy, foster care, vocational education and job placement. Women range in age from 20 to 35 and spend two or three years in the program.
Social workers are teaching Layla to read and do math. She gets to draw and paint with her friends. She goes on field trips to the mountains outside Tehran, and to see a movie once a week. Most of all, she feels safe to dream about the future she wants — about finding love and starting a real family. "It's difficult to be a girl in Iran. You survive by learning to tolerate what life brings you. That was what my life was like in the past," said Layla. "Now I dream about making myself happy, about having the whole world brought to me on a silver platter."
Tehran Cracks Down on
May 17, 2007
The burgeoning feminist movement
in Iran is coming under increased pressure from Ahmadinejad's hardline regime.
Activists who are campaigning to improve women's rights are being harassed,
arrested and imprisoned for violating "national security." The growing
movement has largely taken place in the shadow of a global diplomatic crisis.
For months, as the world focuses its attention on Iran's nuclear intentions,
Iranian feminists have been bravely fighting the country's entrenched
patriarchy. But even as the world has taken little notice of the activists,
Iranian authorities have. Accusing the women of being a threat to national
security and of using foreign funds to stir up dissent in Iran, Tehran, in
recent months has been doing what it can to crush the home-grown feminist
The most recent move in the ongoing crackdown was the arrest of prominent activist Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh earlier this month. The 21-year-old was arrested after she had gone to court to answer questions about her participation in a rally in March. The crackdown, however, has been gaining steam for months. Over the past 10 months the Iranian security forces have "become more and more aggressive even as women's actions have become more peaceful and more tame," one activist, Jila Baniyaghoub, told Associated Press. "By tightening the noose on us, they are warning us that they will not tolerate even the mildest criticism," she said.
In recent months Peyghambarzadeh and her fellow activists have been organizing a series of demonstrations across the country to rally against patriarchal laws and structures in Iran, including polygamy, unfair inheritance laws, and a lack of custody rights in divorce settlements. They have likewise been going out to talk with Iranian women in the streets, universities, schools and factories. They have also been active on the Internet, setting up a number of Web sites dedicated to women's issues...According to Ebadi the popular support for the women's movement has unsettled the regime in Tehran. They see the feminists as calling into question the Iranian constitution, which is based on Shariah law and effectively treats women as second-class citizens...On March 4, over 30 women, including Peyghambarzadeh, were arrested after they attended a protest rally in support of a number of arrested activists. Police loaded the 31 women into a bus and drove them to Tehran's Evin prison where they were blindfolded, forced to wear chadors and interrogated, before being released over the following weeks.
According to Reporters Without Borders, four other women's rights activists were given prison sentences in March for using the Internet to demand better conditions for women in the country. The "cyber-feminists" had been trying to collect a million signatures to call for a change to discriminatory laws. The women were found guilty of "violating national security," and given sentences ranging from six months to a year.
"Despite the constant harassment of its members, the Iranian feminist movement is growing and is alarming the government," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "The Internet is now a battle-ground between these women, who are just demanding the same rights as men, and a regime that remains as rigid as ever."...The Iranian police are also ramping up their inspections of women to ensure they are adhering to the Islamic dress code. The annual spring offensive to make sure women are covering up enough has been particularly strict this year. And the government in Tehran is now drafting a law to limit female students to half the places in college, instead of the 65 percent they currently occupy.
Bloody clashes between women and the police in Iran
By NCRI Website
May 21, 2007
A number of clashes have been
reported in Tehran between regimes’ special police forces and young women
following enactment of the new chastity plan by the Majlis (mullahs' parliament)
and the campaign against women’s mal-veiling, reported the Iranian Women Society
in Tehran. The Society released a photo of a young women who had been
badly injured by the regime's security forces.
In one incident, in '7-tir Square' on Sunday, May 20, the security forces tried to arrest some women when they met resistance from the women and the bystanders, eyewitnesses reported. The report indicates that some men at the scene tried to help the women escape the scene by engaging the security forces.
A shop owner at the scene said: “The [regime] agents stopped three women between the ages of 25 to 30 for their nonconformity to the veiling measures. But their language was too rough making the women to react.”
“When one of the agents was trying to pull one of the girls into a police vehicle, she resisted. Then one other agent kicked the girl in her knee. That sparked furious reaction from the crowed watching the situation,” continued the shop owner.
The three women were finally pulled out of the guards' hands by the people and driven off from the scene by a passing car.
In another incident, regime's agents arrested a girl for mal-veiling.
“She was pulled into the police car by the security agents and was taken away,” Says a taxi driver, stating, “Her cries for help angered the bystanders.”
Another eyewitness reports that in an argument between the people and the police, a mother and her daughter were beaten and their faces were covered with blood. They took their headscarf off in protest. It is said that they were using their mobiles to film agents attacking a women.
Iraqi women demand an end to the Mullah’s regime activities in Iraq
June 7, 2007
In a gathering on June 3rd, women
in Salahedin province in Iraq called for action against Iranian regime’s
terrorism in Iraq.
Ms. Soheila Farhani director of a women’s civil organization in Salahedin province described details of recent clerical regime’s crimes in Iraq. She said: we are going through tough times and unfortunately the Iranian regime has been left free to do whatever they desire.
One thing is clear to everyone now and that is the mullah’s regime is the main enemy and foremost threat to Iraqi people. Therefore we demand cutting the hands of Iranian regime in Iraq and we will force this anti-human regime out of Iraq.
Ms. Manal Tarad, a student in salahedin province talked about Islamic fundamentalism exported by the mullah’s regime to Iraq and crimes that predominantly affect Iraqi women. She said: Iraqi Women’s Rights organization report that every day 90 to 100 Iraqi women become widowers as a result of sectarian violence. Also statistics show that there are 4 million orphan children in Iraq all taken care of by single mothers. The women who have been forced to emigrate inside Iraq are 8% of Iraqi women population.
Therefore the solution for Iraqi women’s problem is the same as the solution for Iraqi society which is ousting of the Iranian regime.
The militias should be disbanded. We also say that People’s Mojahedin are the only democratic alternative to the Iranian regime, the only impediment to their meddling in Iraq and the only real threat for their overthrow and that is why the regime is conspiring against them with all their power and proxies in Iraq.
We, the people of Iraq and especially women of Iraq condemn all the plots of the regime and its proxies. We, the Iraqi people consider People’s Mojahedin a part of our family and our beloved guests.
The next speaker was a women’s activist, Ms. Assieh Ahmad. She said: All the assassinations and murderous acts in Iraq today are exported by Iranian regime. They want to occupy Iraq.
We, the Iraqi women should stand up to this regime. This regime has been destroying Iraq in the past 4 years. We consider People’s Mojahedin who have resided in Iraq for the past 20 years as our sisters and brothers. They have never interfered in Iraqi affairs. We announce that their presence is the only impediment to Iranian regime in Iraq. We declare our solidarity with 1000 Mojahed women in Ashraf.
The concluding resolution of the gathering was read by Ms. Ebtesam Fars. Part of the resolution reads:
“We, the Iraqi women who have come together in Salahedin gathering strongly condemn any interference by Iranian regime and its women-suppressing proxies in Iraq and will not let them decide our destiny.
We demand human, social and political rights for Iraqi women and will not be silenced. Our rights will only be observed when the Iranian regime is forced out of Iraq. All the militias that act as the occupying wing of this regime must disband. We declare our full solidarity with 1000 Mojahed women in Ashraf.
Women's Rally for Equal Rights in Iran
By Jila Kazerounian
June 9, 2007
June 12 marks the one year anniversary of Iranian women's rally against the gender apartheid regime ruling their country. Thousands of women took to the streets of Tehran in a protest organized by several women's groups to oppose the suppression and inequality under the theocratic rulers. They chanted: "women are human, but we don't have any rights", "our demand: freedom and equal rights", and "regime of misogyny must end".
State Security forces attacked the demonstrators, beating, injuring and arresting tens of them. This ordeal was the beginning of another round of repression of women by Ahmadinejad and his hardliner cronies. Recently Tehran 's regime has launched a severe crackdown of women "to promote virtue and combat vice". Women who do not observe full Islamic dress code are beaten and detained in the streets charged with mal-veiling. The scenes of these attacks by security forces are horrifying.
Amid widespread uprisings by university students, teachers and workers, the Islamic fundamentalist regime has once again started the campaign against women to send a message to the rest of the population and to assert its control. In the past 3 decades of clerical rule in Iran , women have proven that they will not submit to these dinosaurs. The system of gender apartheid will be brought down by the same people who are taking the brunt of their brutality: women. The dictators of Tehran have executed tens of thousands of them. They have raped virgin girl prisoners so that according to their twisted ideology they would not end up in heaven. They have tortured and maimed women political prisoners. But they have not been able to silence Iranian women.
The Resistance is growing. Women are leading the struggle for democracy and freedom in Iran . And there is a woman at the forefront of the resistance movement. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is the woman most feared by the Mullahs in Iran . She is leading the most organized opposition against the regime. As Mrs. Rajavi stated on the occasion of International Women's Day in Paris : "Because they have been historically exploited and suppressed, women possess an enormous motivation and high perseverance in the struggle in order to make up for their lag. In the confrontation with the mullahs, we realized that women resemble a compressed spring that when released from the shackles of discrimination and faced with responsibility, they take giant leaps forward."
Tehran 's Mullahs better watch out: Women of Iran have started the giant leaps forward .
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Volume 37, June 15, 2007
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