The Islamic Republic has a major problem: Iranian
Sheda Vasseghi December 22, 2010, 9:03 pm
Recently Islamic Republic’s Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad claimed that feminism is “a cry of protest from crushed
women in a capitalistic system.” Further, he called on all “Muslim”
women to restore their rights in social, economic, cultural and
That the goal of the Islamic regime is to methodically
Two women, walk near the bazaar in central Tehran on Dec.8.
eradicate Iranian national identity, heritage and culture while draining
Iranian resources to further Shiite Islamic movements across the
globe can clearly be seen from Ahmadinejd’s statement lumping
Iranian women together with Muslim women. Given it is a death
sentence under Islam to change religious affiliations and that Islam
is a hostile, foreign ideology to many Iranians, it is rather
presumptuous of Ahmadinejad to claim the majority of Iranian women
identify with Muslims in a true sense after 31 years of physical,
emotional and political torture under Islamic theocracy.
The founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini, was
exiled in the 1960’s because he was anti-women’s rights. Khomeini
correctly argued that women’s rights were against Islamic teachings
and laws. Born to Indian immigrants, Khomeini had no understanding
or loyalty to Iran. His first victims were Iranian women, who were
brutally forced under hijab as the symbol of their new status –
second class citizens under the new theocracy. Although some argue
hijab gives women “freedom” under Islam, the fact that anything
“forced” is contradictory to “freedom” of choice nullifies that
The Islamic Constitution of Iran drafted by the revolutionary
mullahs and Islamist supporters is based on Sharia Laws. As educated
global readers are now fully aware, Sharia Laws by essence take away
the rights of minorities and women declaring them unequal to Muslim
In adherence to Islamic rules, the regime in Tehran supports and
promotes temporary marriages or legalized prostitution. Women must
obtain their husbands’ permission to attend college, travel or work.
Female prisoners are raped in accordance with government-sanctioned
religious beliefs. Capital punishment for women includes stoning.
Mullahs in their twisted obsession with sexuality and sexual conduct
openly discuss vulgar and personal matters with the male audience as
a confirmation of their dominance in society.
What Ahmadinejad and the regime in Tehran fail to note, or choose to
ignore, is that unlike women in other countries run by Islamists,
Iranian women have resisted the theocratic regime for decades. In
doing so, Iranian women have manipulated the enforced hijab
degradation by wearing colorful clothes and thin headscarves. In
their defiance of conservative dress codes, Iranian women wear heavy
makeup, bleach their hair, and do their best to maintain feminism
while fully clothed. They have forced their way in social and
political settings as well as the work force. According to an angry
Iranian woman, who called a talk show, “[i]n absence of weapons to
fight these thugs for equality and democracy, we will use our
The bravery and continued resistance by Iranian women against the
Islamic regime in Tehran was witnessed by the world since June 2009
as they not only joined millions in the national uprising, but in
many instances, led the demonstrations. The world will not forget
the first martyr of this national movement — a woman, who will
forever be remembered by her first name, Neda.
The quest by these women for equality, equity and modernization is
because they are Iranians, not because they are Muslims since it is
the Iranian culture that protects, respects and promotes women. The
endeavor of Iranian women in this regard should be an example to all
women in the region under a similar plight.
The Iranian youth are fully aware of the previous generations’
social and economic accomplishments prior to the 1979 Islamic
Revolution. Modern day technology provides the means to view and
share videos and photos of happier and more prosperous times.
Ahmadinejad and his Islamist supporters should note that the oldest
enemy of the Islamic regime has been and will be the Iranian women.
They have remained vigilant, they will continue to rise, and they
will never rest until they have secured a secular and free Iran
where they can once again choose how to live including how to dress.
Sheda Vasseghi is a member of the
Board of Azadegan Foundation and persepolis3d.com. She is a regular contributor
on Iran’s affairs.
This Article published in the
this is a courtesy copy to the original article.