November 15, 2004 VOLUME 6

To our readers,

The Iranian regime displays a different kind of brutality towards women. Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism was the first organization in the United States who exposed the Iranian regime’s plan to stone a teenage girl in the city of Marvian.  In less than two months, there has been pubic hanging of a 16-year-old girl, execution order of a 33-year-old mother and stoning sentence for a 14-year-old girl. Misogyny is the pillar of fundamentalist rule in Iran. Crimes against women are justified because mullahs view women as embodiment of sin and seduction. It is for this reason the fundamentalist regime in Tehran has found sex trafficking a profitable business. In the past several years, there have been numerous cases revealing officials' involvement in trading and sexually abusing women and young girls.  A regime that uses rape and sexual slavery as weapons against women, stones women to death, and has the highest number of female executions in the world should not be allowed to get its hands on nuclear weapons. The struggle of the Iranian women against this regime is extremely important in the field of international peace and security.

For its part, the international community has failed to make Iran’s systematic violence against women and human rights record as part of a comprehensive strategy to deal with mullah’s growing threat. Instead, Europeans, including some in the US, took everyone on a wild goose chase for reformist mullahs within the ruling establishment. After seven years, none has been found, because none exists within this fundamentalist regime. The Iranian people, women in particular, had no such illusions. Tens of thousands of women have taken the leading role in antigovernment protests and demonstrations across the nation in recent years to reject theocracy in its entirety. Some have joined the ranks of the organized resistance movement.

 WFAFI belives that the realization of freedom, peace and security in Iran is prerequisite for the full attainment of women’s rights in our homeland.

There are enough facts at hand to make the issue of dealing with the repressive regime like Iran very clear for any goverment. The policy of engaging the fundamentalist rulers of Iran has been detrimental to international peace as well as Iran's democracy and equality movement; it has prolonged the suffering of millions of Iranian women. It is indescribable what this barbaric regime can do to the rest of the world once it gets its hand on a nuclear bomb. This regime deserves our scorn not open arms. The fundamentalist regime of Tehran does not belong to the community of civilized nations. As Germany, France and Britan talk with Tehran over its nuclear program, the people of Iran, particularly women, can only hope their rights to pursuit freedom and democracy are not up for negociation. Continuing the carrot and stick policy has run its course and the international community is pressed for time to look for a real solution on collective security in the region. Mullahs’ nuclear disarmament, peace, democracy and gender equality is only possible through Iranians’ endeavor to unseat the fundamentalist regime in Tehran. Let us hear and support their voice for freedom, democracy and peace.


E-Zan Featured Headlines

Women’s eNewsOctober 16, 2004

The Iranian government is planning to stone to death a 13-year-old in the city of Mariyan in the coming days, reports the Women's Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran, a Boston-based group that conducts research, outreach and awareness programs about the challenges faced by Iranian women. According to the forum's Oct. 14 press release, the teen, Jila Izadi, is accused of adultery, an offense punishable by death. However, the release alleges that Izadi was raped and impregnated by her brother and has been further victimized by the Iranian constitution, which offers women and girls little judicial protection or due process.


State-run Jomhori Eslami Newspaper – October 18, 2004

Among the NGO’s, especially the women’s organizations, those who have become useful for the government should be supported and strengthen for the sake of security. The government should infiltrate more in these organizations and groups to advance the agenda of “National Security”. The organizations who are formed outside of this framework should be considered as “enemies of Iran’s national security” and puppets of US and Zionism.  


WFAFI News – October 19, 2004

On October 17, 2004, the Iranian fundamentalist regime acknowledged Izadi’s case through its state-run television news network, channel-2.  The news report alleged that Izadi’s case has been “inflamed” by "the foreign organizations". It announced that “given Jila’s young age and lack of knowledge of Iran’s judicial system, she is now facing “Tazir” prison terms”. The definition of “Tazir”, based on the interpretation of fundamentalists in Iran, is “crimes that are not mentioned in the Koran so judges are free to punish the offender in any appropriate way.” Therefore, it is up to mullahs and their misogynous interpretations to determine her fate. Due to the international rapid response, Jila Izadi may have escaped stoning for the time being, but she is still in a great danger because the Iranian regime can execute her just like Atefeh Rajabi, a 16-year-old girl who was executed in August.


Iran Focus News – October 19, 2004

Students of Iran’s Azad University in the town of Meybod demonstrated against new measures to force female students to wear the ‘Chador’ (an Islamic veil that covers women from head to toe). The students also released a statement condemning the new ‘suppressive regulations’. Many female students have reportedly insisted that they would simply not comply. Other students are reported to have organised several sit-ins and street protests. The new regulations call for all female students of Azad University to wear the chador on and off campus starting from the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. Officials have announced that any students that are not ‘completely veiled’ will be expelled from the university. The university’s board announced that it had reached its decision following discussions with officials from the regime’s Ministry of Education and the local Mayor’s office.


State News Agency ISNA – October 20, 2004

Fifty precent of the Iranian women suffer from bone loss. 25% of women in Iran suffer from various symptoms of illness related to their bone, 10% are handicapped due to broken bones and 5% have died of bone related injuries.


State News Agency ISNA – October 20, 2004

The highest rate of female sucide in Iran is between ages of 14 to 19. Most of these girls are setting themselves on fire. Researchers have indicated that women are committing suicide because they feel they have reached the end of the line. Lack of rights in the area of divorce, custody of children or access to education and jobs are the main reasons for their suicides.


Radio FardaOctober 24, 2004

According to the official statistics published by the Iranian government, temporary marriages have increased 200% in the first 6 months of the year in Iran. The government forecasts that this trend will continue in coming months. In addition, a female Parliament Member, Fatimeh Alia, defended the practice of temporary marriage and polygamy. Before that other officials suggested “chastity houses” to accommodate the sexual needs of man and women in a legal manner.


Agance France PresseOctober 25, 2004

Iranian women have been barred from standing in next year's presidential polls after a powerful conservative body stood by its literal interpretation of a single but ambiguous word in the constitution.  The Guardians Council stipulated that the word 'rejal' means "man", a significant interpretation given that under the constitution the president of the Islamic republic "must be elected from the religious and political 'rejal'".  "Up until now the Guardians Council's interpretation of the word is its literal meaning, that is male gender," a spokesman for the council was quoted as saying. "Those who devised the constitution also discussed this issue and they were mostly concerned with the gender," he added. The disputed word, which comes from Arabic, could also be interpreted as meaning "personalities" in Persian and this is the translation used in some English translations of the constitution.


Iran Focus – October 25, 2004

At least 150 people have been arrested over the past two days in the southern city of Shiraz in the latest crackdown by agents of the State Security Forces (SSF), local residents reported. Eyewitnesses said that dozens of people, mostly youth, were arrested on the streets for their “un-Islamic attire”. A large number of people were reportedly arrested for “acting as a nuisance”.A young man was arrested for “eating in public” in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan according to friends accompanying him. Colonel Tabatabi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. (IRGS), the deputy commander of the regime’s security forces in the province of Fars separately stated: “In the past 48 hours SSF agents were able to arrest 99 drug addicts and 33 trouble-makers, as well as confiscate 89 motorcycles and 52 motor vehicles”.  “23 women were also arrested for not properly wearing their hejab (Islamic veil)”, he added. He also charged that four of the detained were found to be carrying a gun along with seven magazines and are presently suspected of attempting to instigate armed rebellion against the regime.


Reuters News Agency – October 28, 2004

Many Iranians are obsessed with soccer, and soccer players are considered role models for younger fans. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, conservatives have continually tried to hold back the tide of Western cultural influence and promote Islamic values. A crowd of 110,000 watched a match between Iran and Germany in Tehran earlier this month. Iranian women were not allowed to see the match after the football federation upheld a ban on them entering stadiums even though women are the Islamic country's most passionate fans.


Iran Newspaper – October 28, 2004

700 000 children, aged 10-14, work in black labor market in Iran. The latest statistics released by Islamic Iran's Organization of Management and Planning shows that 51% of the country's population live below poverty line. The laws do not offer any protection to children in Iran.


State News Agency ISNA – November 6, 2004

Iran’s Health Ministry announced that cigarette consumption among female students in Tehran has increased 31 times over the course of four years. On average, 13.3 cigarettes are consumed on daily basis per person in Iran.



E-Zan Featured Reports

People Power, Iranian-Style

The Wall Street Journal – Europe

October 18, 2004

PAULO CASACA, Euro-MP from Portugal

Last April, on a tour of Iraq, I spent several days in a camp north-east of Baghdad populated by several thousand Iranians. They were members of Iranian People's Mujahedeen, an organization the regime in Tehran considers as its enemy number one, with America and Israel. Arriving at Camp Ashraf after traveling around Iraq felt like reaching an oasis. Traffic police who imposed fines on speeding; Ashraf was the only place I found in Iraq where traffic rules were respected and enforced. People could move in peace and freedom. The urban infrastructure, such as water, sanitation and electricity, was very well maintained by the Iranians themselves.The sprawling enclave looked like a microcosm of another Iran. Here, where all the road signs are in Farsi and English, I found an extraordinary collection of mainly middle class, university-educated activists united by their hatred of the Islamic fundamentalist regime in their homeland…About a third of these dissidents are women, and women hold senior leadership and management positions. One of them, the Mujahedeen's secretary general, Mojgan Parsai, studied computer science in the U.S. In Ashraf, women are proud of their achievements in gender equality. My most moving meeting was with former political prisoners, who described horrific torture and rape that they suffered at the hands of Iran's Revolutionary Guards…I left the camp with the clear impression that the Iranian Mujahedeen is a legitimate resistance movement that merits the support of the free world. In a region still dominated by intolerance, tyranny and blind fanaticism, this movement is advocating an Islam based on democratic governance, secularism, tolerance, and gender equality. The fact that the movement is led by a woman -- Maryam Rajavi, who lives near Paris -- only sharpens the contrast with a regime that bars women from high political office…Europe has a grave moral and political responsibility to adopt a new, firm approach on Iran. The failure of past diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed on Iraq is no argument to foreclose the use of effective pressure against Iran, even though the current state of global oil markets would complicate any decision. But the West must start sending the right signals if its resolve is to be taken seriously in Tehran. It must stop sending trade missions to Iran, as both the U.K. and France recently did. And it must stop staging big diplomatic events to promote ties with the Iranian regime, as Germany did. There is, however, a much more effective way to obliterate the Iranian rulers' "margin of terror" -- what their "security margin" really means -- and that is to support the Iranian people's democratic aspirations. Western governments must speak out more forcefully in support of the millions of Iranians, particularly the young and women, who want to see a democratic, secular and pluralist government replace the current theocracy. It is my view, shared by more than 1,000 members of parliaments in Europe, that our first political step should be to end the international blacklisting of the mullahs' principal opposition movement -- the Iranian Mujahedeen. Many in the U.S. Congress and prominent voices in international law endorse the call. Senior U.S. officials confirm that an exhaustive, 16-month investigation by several U.S. government agencies, including the State Department and the FBI, has exonerated members of the Iranian Mujahedeen of terrorist charges. Officials on both sides of the Atlantic are on the record as saying that the only reason why the group was put on the U.S. terrorism list in the first place was to send a "goodwill gesture" to the Iranian regime.Let Iran's clerical rulers know that their "security margin" is history. That's the only way to save the world from cataclysmic options a few months, or years, down the road.


French Actor and Activist, Brigitte Bardot writes to Iran’s Ambassador against stoning of Jila in Iran

October 27, 2004

Mr. Ambassador, 

My approach towards you today is particular; I do not intervene in effect in the name of my Foundation but in my own proper name, in the name of a free woman that I represent in this world, in the shadow of the image of Marianne, symbol of the French Republic, the cradle of Human Rights. 

I am horrified by the condemnation to death, by the stoning, of the young girl Jila Izadi and of her brother who could, himself also, be stoned if he survives the 180 lashes by a leather whip that he will be inflicted with…Myself, I do not tolerate such acts and I solicit your intervention as well as your government so that Iran can finally recognize the rights of women, of children, of men, quite simply and that they condemn in spite of the torture, corporal punishment and all types of cruel treatment. Unfortunately, the little Jila Izadi is not an isolated case and we have the responsibility to react to condemn all these injustices, these barbarous acts that men in their madness destruct and are capable of perpetration.  What kind of future can one hope for a country that massacres their own children?  

You perhaps know my determination in this combat that I take in favor of animals; I can put equal force to the service of this humanitarian cause since the case is at a revolting level so that I cannot, humanly, close my eyes in the face of a situation so unbearable, an atrocity.  

I count on your intervention and assure you, Mr. Ambassador, of all my saddened concerns. 

13 year old schoolgirl facing death by stoning flogged 55 times
Iran Focus

October 30,  2004
Zhila Izadyar, the 13-year-old schoolgirl from the Iranian town of
Marivan (north-western Iran) who is sentenced to be stoned to death is reported to be in poor health after she was lashed 55 times in prison.  Azad Zamani of the Society for the Protection of Children’s Rights has said that Zhila’s health has been rapidly deteriorating. Zamani has managed to visit Zhila although under close supervision of the Iranian regime’s agents. Zamani stated that Zhila said, “I am scared; I want to go home; I want to be able to go back to school like other kids”. Zhila was convicted of having an incestuous relationship with her 15-year-old brother and giving birth to an illegitimate child. Zhila is reported to have been in a very bad state while she has had to spend time in solitary confinement under close guard. Zamani had reported that Zhila now has a very bad eating pattern and she constantly vomits. Another source, who wished not to be named, said that Zhila has been beaten by guards while she in jail and has not been allowed to see her newborn child. Reports have also come out that Zhila’s brother Bakhtiar has also been flogged in prison. Zhila faces death by stoning while Bakhtiar faces 150 lashes as well as prison time, according to the clerical judge who issued their verdict.


Gender equality is tyranny against men in Iran!!

State News Agency, IRNA and Agance France Presse

October 31, 2004

An Iranian woman lawmaker is backing the removal of the concept of gender equality from a state development plan in order to prevent the "bullying" of men, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. "Bringing up the issue of gender justice is a case of bullying men," the female deputy, Eshrat Shayeghi told the agency. She said she was supporting a decision by the conservative-dominated parliament to delete a phrase in the 'Fourth Five-Year Development Plan' (2005-2010), which aimed at considering equal training and employment opportunities for women as men. The preceding reformist parliament had given the go-ahead to the "gender justice" concept in the bill but it was subsequently rejected by the conservative legislation watchdog body the Guardians Council.  The new parliament removed the phrase in mid-August to follow the Guardians Council's call, AFP reported "If men are in the habit of beating, women are guilty of talking back," Shayeghi said. "If the gender justice is brought up, men can object to payment of the household expenses (nafagheh) -- given under Islamic law to housewives -- as a sort of abuse and violence against men." Out of 11 female MPs in the current parliament, only one had spoken out against the removal of the phrase, IRNA reported.  Iranian women face a number of legal restrictions in Iran's male-dominated society. They receive half of the inheritance and blood money given to men, and they are also not allowed to be court judges. If they are married, a woman needs her husband's permission to travel abroad.


Iranian woman granted Norway residency for fear of stoning
United Press International - World News

November 4, 2004

Oslo -- An Iranian woman who has lived in an Oslo, Norway, church for two and a half years has received permission to remain in the country.  The woman had applied for residence in Norway four previous times and been rejected, Aftenposten reported Thursday. The woman came to Norway with her child in 2000 to visit family members. She chose not to return to a threatening and violent husband who accused her of infidelity. Amnesty International argued on behalf of the woman that she would risk being lashed or stoned if sent back to Iran, and the woman went from an asylum center to a church hall, where members of the parish worked to secure her residence in Norway. "The authorities have argued that the woman could have received protection from Iranian authorities. This has never been a real option for her. We found principle weaknesses in their attitude and we found that documentation from serious human rights organizations were ignored," a church member said.


Iran arrests two female journalists

The New York Times

November 9, 2004

Iran has continued its crackdown on journalists, with two arrests in the past week, and has moved on journalists, with two arrests in the past week, and has moved against pro-democracy Web sites, blocking hundreds of sites in recent months and making several arrests. Mahboubeh Abbas-Gholizadeh, editor of the magazine Farzaneh, who is an advocate of expanded rights for women, was arrested Nov. 1 after she returned from London, where she had attended the European Social Forum.  Fereshteh Ghazi, a journalist for the daily newspaper Etemad, who also writes about women's issues, was arrested four days earlier after she was summoned to court to answer questions, said her husband, Ahmad Begloo. Ghazi is an outspoken journalist who wrote a letter in support of a woman who had been sentenced to death for killing a senior security official whom she accused of trying to rape her.  As part of its crackdown, the government has blocked hundreds of political sites and Web logs…Many rights advocates turned to the Internet after the judiciary shut down more than 100 pro-democracy newspapers and journals in recent years. The number of Internet users in Iran has soared in the past four years, to 4.8 million from 250,000. …When the most recent wave of arrests began in September, the authorities arrested the father of a Web technician, Sina Motallebi, who has taken refuge in the Netherlands. Motallebi wrote a Web log and helped run one of the political Web sites. The father, Saeed Motallebi, was held for 11 days and then released.  "It seems that they do not want to deal with political figures who are behind the Internet sites and are willing to pay a price for what they are doing," said Alireza Alavitabar, a political scientist who is involved in the Emooz Web site. "Instead they want to deprive the Web sites of their staff and the capability to run them."


Iranian photographers' work barred from Paris exhibition, Images deemed to insult Islam, women

November 11, 2004

Agence France Presse

Iran has blocked four local photographers from exhibiting some of their work in Paris after certain pictures were deemed to be "against Islamic values and mocking the image of Iranian women." Sources close to the dispute said Tehran's state-run Museum of Contemporary Art had been due to support the photographers by paying for the packing and shipping of their work so it can appear at the Paris Photo exhibition at the Carrousel du Louvre, Nov. 11-14.  "When the museum sponsors the works it has certain authorities," a spokesman for the museum, Farhad Badpa, told Agence France Presse. "The works that were against Islamic values or mocked ... Iranian women were omitted. Other works by these artists that did not insult Islamic values were sent to the exhibition." The photographers are Shadi Ghadirian, Ramin Haerizadeh, Yalda Amiri and Arash Hanai. "The museum has offered me no explanation," complained Ghadirian, whose photos feature women clad head to toe in the traditional chador with housekeeping objects - such as pots, kettles and irons - for a face. "These pictures are reflecting me as an Iranian woman," she asserted. "How can I insult and ridicule my own sex? I do not show anything that crosses the red lines like faces or flesh in my work." This year the Paris Photo exhibition, generally considered the world's premier photography show, features 105 galleries from 16 countries presenting rare early images as well as some of the most avant garde photographic work today. Significantly, and now disappointingly, it was to be the first time an Iranian gallery, Tehran's Silk Road Gallery, was represented at the fair. The Silk Road Gallery represents over 30 contemporary artists and photographers.


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Volume 6, November 15, 2004

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