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A tragic death punishes a regime that oppressed irrepressible Persian women

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



By Sheda Vasseghi

Neda's murder, a symbol of Iranian people's struggle against a corrupt and defunct government, is indeed an irony.   

A screen grab from a June 21, 2009 video showing Iranian men trying to help a wounded woman named Neda after getting shot in the chest during a protest in Tehran on June 20, 2009.      AFP/YouTube
Contrary to ancient Persian history and 20th century social advancements of the Pahlavi regime, women were one of the first groups attacked and suppressed by the Islamic Republic. For example:

  • the 1926 Freedom of Dress was overturned;
  • women are not eligible to run for presidency;
  • the 1967 Family Protection Law was overturned;
  • marital age was reduced from 18 to 9;
  • they virtually have no rights if divorced and domestic abuse is not grounds for divorce;
  • a woman's testimony is worth half of a man's and fines paid for a women's murder is half of what is awarded for a male victim;
  • women cannot work, attend school, or travel without a male relative's permission;
  • women inherit half as much as men;
  • Article 115 of Penal Laws allows stoning;
  • Article 116 discusses how big the stones should be;
  • women in prisons are considered to have committed crimes against God and thus at the guards' disposal who often rape and torture them;
  • and they are not allowed to attend public sports events.
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