February 25, 2018

Rights and Liberties

[heading]Human Rights Violations in Iran[/heading] [button link=”” color=”#000000″ size=”3″ style=”1″ dark=”0″ square=”0″ target=”self”]Click for Human Rights News[/button] [tabs style=”1″] [tab title=”Background”]


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes that the “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”. Armed with such mandate, all nations bare the responsibility of ensuring social, political, cultural, religious, and legal environment necessary to achieve this goal. Iran is a theocracy that systematically violates its citizens’ right to political, social and economic liberty. As a committed enemy of the West, Iranian regime has for so long been the ideological wellspring of Islamic terrorism, and the world’s most active sponsor of terrorism. A totalitarian regime that viciously punishes slightest of internal opposition, and actively exports its contempt for international law and human life.(U.S. State Department Report Read More….) –

The violation of human right in Iran continues to be significant, despite many efforts by Iranian human right activists, opposition groups, international bodies, and intellectuals. Human rights in Iran face the issues of governmental impunity, restricted freedom of speech, gender and ethnic equality, freedom of the press, assembly and so on. Despite severe national and international criticism, the government of Iran still continues to disregard the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (read more…. ).

The abuses represent a systematic phenomenon and are deliberate. Mullahs justification for brutality draws its origins from many factors, including two main elements. First, the Sharia law, which allows for significant gender inequality, persecution of individuals, and public executions. Secondly, the Iranian government, in its continual drive to further secure power base and to maintain its control over a multi-ethnic society, disregards the most basic of human rights.

In November 2005, the UN General Assembly again passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran. It drew attention to Iran’s “failure to comply with international standards in the administration of justice, the absence of due process of law, the refusal to provide fair and public hearings and right to counsel…” and forms of systematic discrimination.

Iranian Regime’s Human Rights Record at a Glance
• Over 120,000 political prisoners executions
• Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 over just a few months
• Use of brutal torture methods against prisoners – including eye gouging and amputation of body parts
• Persecution of ethnic and religious minorities
• Forced marriage of girls, some as young as nine years old
• Execution and public humiliation of minors
• Extra judicial Killing of dissidents and intellectuals

International Attention:

Various organs of the United Nations have on at least 52 separate documents condemned the mullah’s reprehensible and criminal behavior. Various countries, including the United States have for decades called for international attention to the atrocities committed in Iran (The Iranian Regime: Human Rights and Civil Liberties Uner Siege – U.S. Dep. of State, 2006). Sadly however, few if any tangible steps have been taken to punish the perpetrators.[/tab][/tabs] [heading]Women’s Rights Violations in Iran[/heading] [button link=”” color=”#000000″ size=”3″ style=”1″ dark=”0″ square=”0″ target=”self”]Click for Women’s Rights News[/button] [tabs style=”1″] [tab title=”In the Eyes of Iran’s Rulers”]

Women in the Eyes of Iran’s Fundamentalist Rulers

The mullah’s totalitarian regime is based on the principle of velayat-e faqih. It derives its justification and theoretical basis from fiqh (jurisprudence) which encompasses all aspects of individual and social life. A review of this mindset in its totality, however, demonstrates that the pillar of this backward school of thought is gender distinction and discrimination. In other words, it is a gender-based ideology.

Theoretically, Iran’s ruling fundamentalists establish their thesis on the differences between the sexes and the conclusion that the male is the superior sex and hence the female is a slave at his service. By this approach, they negate a woman’s human identity. The fundamentalist mind considers physiological traits as the determining factors in its value system. Gender-based differences are used to justify sexual discrimination and inevitably lead to enmity towards women. This is the bedrock of the fundamentalist’s rationale, the leitmotif and cornerstone of their ideology which gives them inspiration and the power to mobilize their forces. The Quran, however, lays emphasis on the distinctive human characteristics – cognizance, free will and responsibility – that set the criteria.

Former mullah’s President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said: “The difference in stature, vitality, voice, development, muscular quality and physical strength of men and women shows that men are stronger and more capable in all fields. Men’s brains are larger. These differences affect the delegation of responsibilities, duties”. In truth, the fundamentalists do not believe women are human. To tone down such an outrageous view, however, fundamentalist ideologues have tried to equivocate in this respect. One such theorist, Morteza Motahhari, contends: “All women are fond of being supervised … spiritual superiority over women was designed by Mother Nature. No matter how much a woman wants to fight this reality, her efforts will prove futile. Women must accept the reality that because of their greater sensitivity, they need men to control their lives.” (The Order of Women’s Rights in Islam, Morteza Motahhari).

The ultimate message of the mullah’s value system, laws and practices is that women are “weak” and properties of men who are superior to them as much as God is to mankind. The mullahs state explicitly: “It is a woman’s legal duty to obey her husband. Such obedience, like other kinds of mandatory submissions, falls in the realm of obeying God.” Therefore, in the fundamentalists’ view, women, as a second-class citizens, cannot and must not have any place in leadership, governance, judgeship and any serious post that deals with running society’s affairs. They have gone as far as saying that “women must be kept uninformed to make sure they are obedient.” Former Judiciary Chief Mohammad Yazdi, who was a confidant of Khomeini and is now a member of the powerful watchdog Guardian Council, says: “In Islam, as we understand and practice it, women are banned from two things: serving as judges and governing. No matter how knowledgeable, wise, virtuous and competent they may be, women do not have the right to rule.” Yazdi further stated: “If humans were not obliged to kneel before God only, women should have knelt before their husbands.”

In the fundamentalists’ view, therefore, women do not enjoy the right to participate in political and social life; rather, they serve as slaves to their husbands in their houses. In 1962 Khomeini vehemently opposed women’s suffrage. He noted: “Women have been allowed to work in offices and wherever they have gone, that office has been paralyzed… As soon as a woman enters a system, she messes it up.”

A gender-based jurisprudence solidifies discrimination and inequality not only in social and political arenas but also in civil rights of women. From this standpoint, the right to divorce is exclusive to men, and is justified as follows: “If the man does not put away his wife and remains loyal to her, the woman will also love him and remain loyal to him. Therefore, Nature has given the key to the natural dissolution of the marriage to the man.” (“The Order of Women’s Rights in Islam”, Morterza Motahhari).According to these view points, a woman’s self esteem derives from the man, and so she does anything to gain his esteem. Her soul and flesh, feelings, even her basic identity, belong to and are identified with him. Man replaces God for a woman, a view plainly contradictory to monotheism, which Islam represents. According to Islam and Islamic precepts, a woman owns her body and all her property. Under the pretext of the sanctity of the family, however, the reactionaries consider the husband as the owner of his wife’s body and life, thus making her his slave.

Khomeini’s theory of the velayat-e faqih begins with gender discrimination and ultimately tramples upon the most rudimentary human rights of women. Khomeini’s confidant, Ahmad Azari Qomi, who received several key judicial appointments, said the following on the marriage of virgin girls: “In Islam, the marriage of a virgin girl is not allowed without the permission of the father and the consent of the girl. Both must agree, but at the same time the rule of the divine leadership supersedes that of the father and the girl on the issue of marriage and valise faqih can enforce his view contrary to the opinion of the father and the girl.” This means a mullah could sanction the forced marriage of the girl over her own objection and that of her father.

The gender distinction is so evident in all aspects of the mullah’s jurisprudence, including in worship, in trade and in signing contracts, that no justification can conceal the philosophical essence and dualistic nature of the mullah’s gender-based ideology and distinctions.

As pointed out earlier, even in remarks by the more recent fundamentalist theoreticians who have sought to soften the harsh image of the regime, gender distinction and the denial of women’s human dignity is far too apparent to be concealed. Motahhari says paradoxically: “women and men are equal in their human essence, but they are two different forms of humans, with two different sets of attributes and two different psyches…” He then emphasizes: “Such differences are not a consequence of geographic, historic or social factors, but are enshrined in the essence of Creation. There is a purpose to these natural differences, and any practice which contradicts Nature and man’s natural disposition will bring about undesirable consequences.”
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Misogyny, a by-product of gender distinction

From the fundamentalist mullah’s perspective, sexual vice and virtue are the principal criteria for evaluation. The most ignoble and unforgivable of all sins is sexual wrongdoing; piety, chastity and decency are basically measured by sex-related yardsticks. Seldom do they apply to the political and social realms. Purity or corruption is essentially judged according to criteria that are in one way or another related to sex. When such a value system evolves into the social norm, the walls of sexual demarcation become taller, thicker and even more ubiquitous. Fundamentalism conceives of woman as sinister and satanic; she is the embodiment of sin and seduction. She must not step beyond her house, lest her presence in society breed sin. She must stay at home, servicing her husband’s carnal desires; if she fails to comply, she is compelling her man to commit sin outside the home.

The fundamentalists look at the world and the hereafter through distorted, sex-tinted glasses. Throughout history they have fabricated their own fantasies as moral lessons and attributed them even to the Prophet Mohammad’s ascension to Heaven. Predictably, the fabricated stories focus on the gravity of sexual sins and the severity of punishment meted out when such sins are committed. Here is one reactionary theorists fantasy shamelessly attributed to the Prophet’s me-raaj, or his ascension to Heaven: “I saw a woman hanging from her hair whose brain was boiling because she had not covered her hair. I saw a woman who had been hanged from her tongue and Hell’s boiling water was being poured into her throat, because she had irritated her husband. I saw a woman in a furnace of fire, hanged from her feet because she had left home without her husband’s permission …” (“Hayat-al-Qolub.” Mullah Mohammad Baqer Majlessi).

Such fantasies are nowhere to be found in the Quran. The Quran contains more than 6,200 verses, the great majority of which deal with the question of existence, history and the human being, and emphasize the responsibilities of the human race. The total number of verses focusing on religious precepts does not exceed 500, of which only a handful with sexual vice and virtue. According to the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), the Prophet enumerated seven mortal sins, namely loss of faith in God’s mercy, homicide, robbing orphans of their belongings, sorcery and demagoguery, usury, and slandering virtuous women. A common theme runs through these seven sins, however diverse they may be: rather than being introspective, they all relate in one way or another to social relations and man’s relations with others in society. Looking at the list of the seven mortal sins, the question comes to mind that while one of the mortal sins is slandering women, why do fundamentalists exaggerate gender distinctions? Is this not simply a dogma persisting from the ancient times? That may be, but the mullahs see this as the only way to maintain a monopoly on Islam and seat themselves upon the throne of religion.

The mullahs use gender distinction and highlight sexual misconduct to justify their misogynous outlook and apply it to all spheres of man-women relationships in society. In this way, they keep control. Ironically, while it is the man who commits a sin or, to say the least, the sin is equally shared between a woman and a man, in the misogynist’s world, it is the woman who pays the highest price, is constantly humiliated, and treated as subordinate and a second-class citizen just because she is a woman. In the mullah’s system, it is the women who have to wear the hejab to prevent sin and comply with the extremely discriminatory rules. Most important of all, it is the women who must feel shame from the day they are borne and be characterized as sinister, satanic creature.In this way, in the fundamentalist mindset, gender distinctions leads to misogyny and hostility toward women.

The fundamentalists derive their motivation from misogyny and set in motion a devastating anti-historic, anti-human force. Many have compared misogyny with racism and this is indeed an appropriate comparison. The difference is that misogyny and the fundamentalism emanating from it are far more inhuman and destructive than racism.

Throughout Khatami’s Presidency (which began in 1997), and continuing to this day, new restrictive laws and policies have been implemented to segregate women and men in education and health care. Parliament and other religious leaders continue to propose and enact a number of laws or policies that will adversely affect the health, education, and well being of women and girls in Iran. In practice, discriminatory laws and punishments were approved that affected mostly women. On September 4, 1998, for example, the mullah’s Majlis (Parliament) passed a bill to segregate medical centers and hospitals. Billed as the Medical and Religious Conformity Act, it imposed gender segregation in hospitals and medical centers, and had a very serious impact on the already inadequate provision of health services for women. The Act goes to extraordinary lengths to define areas of segregation, encompassing all medical and medically-affiliated centers, including hospitals, obstetrical clinics, convalescence centers, laboratories, outpatient clinics, doctors, consulting rooms and pharmacies. It also applies to the work place of other medical personnel, institutes of physiotherapy and electro-physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, clinical laboratories of diagnostics and research, radiology, nuclear centers, urban and rural health and treatment centers, injection and wound dressing cabinets or any establishment created or to be created under any label authorized by the Ministry of Health, therapy and medical education, departments in universities of medical science and all their technical, administrative and service personnel. To implement this bill, which will cost billions of rials (or millions of dollars), the Majlis ordered the formation of “Supreme Council of Adaptation” within the Ministry of Health. When tabled in the Majlis, the bill aroused extensive protests by women and the medical community at large.In April 1998, repressive forces attacked a gathering of 1,800 surgeons in Tehran who had protested against this plan and brutalized many of them. Later that July, 2,200 doctors and students signed petitions, describing the plan as an insult to the medical profession. Even those affiliated with the supposedly “moderate” faction admit that, “when we look closely, we see stagnation and even backsliding in certain areas.” (Jamileh Kadivar, September 21, 2000)

During Khatami’s tenure alone 26 stoning verdicts had been issued, 18 of them against women. United Nation Human Rights Commission’s Special Representative on Iran described Iran as a “prison for women.” Expectedly, Ahmadinejad’s presidency has brought about an escalation of such activities, the like of which Iranian women are all too familiar with. The claims about respect for the rights of women by a regime founded on misogyny are absolutely deceptive and designed to beguile the outside world. Amnesty International reports that in 2005, at least 94 people were executed, including at least eight who were under 18 at the time of their alleged offence. Many sentences of flogging were imposed. The true number of those executed or subjected to corporal punishment was believed to be considerably higher than the cases reported (2006 Annual Report on human rights violations in Iran). In 2006, Iran’s execution rate nearly doubled compared to 2005, with at least 177 people killed. It also executed the highest number of child offenders (four).

The founder of this regime, Khomeini, said unequivocally: “Women are sinister creatures. If a woman refrains from providing a favorable atmosphere to please her husband, he has the right to beat her, and he should make her submit by beating her more everyday.” This statement leaves no doubt regarding Iranian Regime’s world view and intolerant orientation.
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