The Islamic Republic of Iran denies women their most central human right to gender equality before the law. In Iranian courts women are not entitled to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which stipulates that “all persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals” (Article 14). The Islamic Penal code which was enacted after the 1979 Revolution violates the principle of gender equality. Further, Iranian courts recognize women’s testimony, evidence, and compensation, as half of that of a man.
The IRI violates women’s rights through compulsory hijab, forcing women to cover their whole bodies with the exception of their face and hands and feet and violations are severely punished with seventy four lashes, imprisonment and fines. A woman’s body is not taboo! The IRI uses these laws to legally control women’s body to subordinate and oppress her.
The IRI also sanctions gender inequality in matters of marriage, such as making the male “guardians” (father, brothers and husband) the legal authority marriage matters. The IRI has also legalized the age of marriage to be as early as 9 years of age for girls. This law has effectively legalized paedophilia, destroying the lives of thousands of Iranian girls and putting thousands more at risk.
Within the marriage, the IRI laws stipulates the “rights and duties” of women, which include sexual submission (unhampered sexual availability), which is in effect legalizing rape, allowing women no place or institution for protection when or if sexual violence occurs in a marriage.
Recently the IRI has begun a campaign of acid attacks against Iranian women. Passing a law that gives further power to morality patrols (Basij) and protection in courts, the Basij has been witnessed throwing acid at Iranian woman not abiding by the Islamic dress code.
Women have a revolutionary character in Iran. They have time and again resisted against the Islamic Republic’s continuous assaults on their rights and freedoms. When the IRI first introduced compulsory hijab after the 1979 revolution, women flooded the streets of Tehran in the millions. From 1979 until today, when women are fighting against the Basij patrols’ acid attacks, by holding protests across major cities in Iran, their struggle and resistance has never ceased and their revolutionary character has only been further accentuated.
Despite the Islamic regime’s attempts to repress women, domesticated them, and treat them as second class citizens, women are using everyday life as a platform to voice their protest. Women in Iran defy the Islamic regime by wearing improper hijab, pursing higher education, seeking employment, listening to music, dancing, engaging in sporting activities and occupying public spheres wherever possible!
The Islamic Republic of Iran must fear Iranian women for they are revolutionary in their demands for secularism, gender equality and life free of state sanctioned repression! On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women we must condemn the Islamic regime for its acts of violence towards Iranian women. We must stand together with Iranian women to echo their voice and their cry for change to the outside world.
Communist Youth Organization