On the occasion of the International Day of Struggle for Women’s Rights, the comrades of Socialist Solidarity with Workers in Iran (SSTI, member of the International Labor Network of Solidarity and Struggles) communicate the following text regarding the situation of women in Iran.
On this international day, we must carry the voice of those who are fighting and risking their lives.
Two Women’s Days are celebrated in Iran : December 16, the birth day of Fatemeh, the daughter of the prophet, organized by the government, while women’s rights activists celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th March.
On March 8, 1979, tens of thousands of women took to the streets to claim their rights and freedoms. After having participated massively in the uprising, they thus expressed their refusal to be among the first targets of the counter-revolution organized under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Discrimination against women is contrary to United Nations human rights conventions.
On 2003, The Guardian Council of the Constitution rejected two bills providing Iran adhesion to the “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” and the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”.
On January 3, 2021, the government, under the pressure Iranian society, passed a bill entitled “Protection, dignity and security of women against violence”. This bill falls short of international standards, failing to address all aspects of violence faced by women, including child marriage and marital rape.
Nevertheless, it would mark a step forward and could serve as a starting point towards a criminalization and violence against women, and remains to be adopted by the conservative parliament.
The Islamic Penal Code structures the status of women in Iran. Comprising extremely violent corporal punishments, it allows political power to encourage violence against women when it does not take their lives. Patriarchal regime norms exert control over women’s bodies, making them suspect by nature, and guilty of their femininity.
The following cases reveal the violence of this phallocratic regime against the women :
Yasaman Aryani, sentenced several times for defending her rights.
On August 2018, she was arrested during a demonstration in Tehran with other activists, then more recently, on March 8, 2019, when she and her mother, aboard the Tehran metro, with their faces uncovered, distributed flowers, to campaign against the obligation to wear the veil by pronouncing the slogan “me without the hijab, and you with the hijab“.
They were each sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. Their sentences were reduced to 9 years, following numerous international mobilizations, as well as the virulence of the video widely distributed on social networks.
According to the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Yasaman faced »nightmarish conditions in prison … she was held in solitary confinement, denied receiving calls and visits from her family, and being threatened to arrest the other members of her family if she did not recant in front of the TV camera and express her regret« .
Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee, writer, rights defender, activist against the practice of stoning in Iran.
On October 2016, Golrokh began a 6-year prison sentence, following the discovery of a publication criticizing the stoning, during the search of her home,.
She has been in prison since January 2017, in unbearable conditions. During interrogations, blindfolded, she receives death threats. Iraee was also forced to hear the guards kicking and strangling her husband in the next cell.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 20-year-old decorator arrested for the murder of a former intelligence agent who raped her
Found guilty of stabbing the raper to death, she was executed by by hanging on October 25, 2014. Numerous correspondences written from her cell recounted her prison conditions and her engagement. Regarding her trial, she wrote, “I didn’t shed a tear. I didn’t beg. I didn’t cry, because I trusted the law and the justice. But I was accused of being indifferent to the crime“.
Zahra Ismaili suffered from domestic violence. She murdered her husband in self-defense.
Her husband, a senior intelligence official, beat her frequently. He was sentenced to death. On February 17, 2021, while witnessing the hanging of 16 men before her, she succumbed to a stroke. She was already dead when they took her to the gallows.
There is no future for democracy in Iran without genuine and complete emancipation of women.
Solidarity with Iranian women !