But this was no secret even at the start. In 1962, long before the Regime came to power, founder Ruhollah Khomeini wrote to the Shah about “need” to take the right to vote away from women, thus denying them a voice in politics. So, it was no surprise when, just two weeks after the 1979 Revolution, Khomeini began depriving women of their human rights.
By March of 1979, Khomeini had abolished the Family Protection Law, which provided women with rights in the family, abolished women’s social services, and stopped female judges from participating in the judicial process.
Then, throughout the 1980s, thousands of female Iranian dissidents, including teenage girls, pregnant women and elderly mothers, were executed for exercising freedom of speech. (According to human rights groups, Iran is the only country on earth that executes or tortures women for political dissent.)
His motto was “either the veil or a hit on the head”, which translates to women obeying him or being punished.
Why? Because he believed, thanks to a willfully ignorant interpretation of Islam, that gender equality was a “fundamental violation” of the Quran. In fact, he even wrote in his book that it was not even necessary for a husband to inform his wife was divorcing her, let alone ask for consent.
And things did not improve when his successor Ali Khamenei took over. In 2010, the Regime extended its so-called morality laws and tasked 26 institutions with cracking down on women who violated them. This led to club-wielding vice patrols attacking women in the streets from being improperly veiled. In 2014, many women were stabbed or splashed with acid by these vicious gangs.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran released a statement in December, where they explain that the misogynistic policies continue to this day, citing that nearly 1,000 women were arrested for peaceful political activism in 2018 alone. But that is far from the most disturbing part of their report.
They write that since President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013:
• 87 women have been executed
• The Regime gutted the Elimination of Violence Against Women bill, which has still not been ratified 13 years after being proposed, removing nearly half of its 90 articles and renaming it the Provision of Security for Women
• Refused to increase the minimum age of marriage for girls to 15, describing it as “unnecessary”, even though child marriage is a major contributor to domestic abuse and poverty for these girls
The Women’s Committee wrote: “Iranian women, however, never remained silent over the past 40 years. They joined the struggle against the mullahs’ religious tyranny in step with men. Today, they hold the leadership of the main opposition force to the mullahs’ regime, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). With such role models, we can see Iranian women in the streets, participating in most protests against the regime, speaking out for their rights, and paying the price for freedom and turn the page of history in their homeland.”