Laila Jazayeri

Director, Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK

During the past 38 years, Iranian women have been suppressed and denied of their most fundamental rights systematically. The theocratic regime ruling Iran views women as second class citizens and treats them as half of men.

Just like the Nazis who based their ideology on racial supremacy, the pillar of the Islamic fundamentalist ideology is based on misogyny and discrimination against women.

Women face gender barriers, restrictions, systematic discrimination and marginalization in every field of life. The misogyny and discrimination against women are institutionalized into law.

Women are doomed to follow the decisions and permissions of men. In the relationship between husband and wife, the man leads the family with absolute power. According to the unelected “Council of Guardians of the Constitution” a woman does not even have the right to leave her home without her husband’s permission, not even to attend her father’s funeral. (1)

If a woman refuses to have sex with her husband, she can be sentenced by the court and the husband can punish his wives for “such violation”. A man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes to. (2)

Just a few months after Iranian revolution in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini decreed compulsory hijab in all governmental offices. Later in 1983, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) legislated a repressive law that imposed penalties for women who did not observe compulsory dress code. The regime has a “Morality Police” to enforce this repressive law. In April this year, a young woman was run over by the vehicle of the morality police for improper veiling. A video clip is available on this:

Mal-veiling is considered a crime. Violating the religious law in this regard carries a sentence of imprisonment up to two months, or being flogged by 74 lashes. (3) The regime’s new method of sowing fear in the hearts of the country’s female population for allegedly having violated the mandatory veiling code is through acid attacks. On the surface the regime’s officials deny involvement in the attacks. In reality, they protect individuals who arbitrarily decide to enforce mandatory veiling regulations in their own violent manner.

A woman’s testimony in court equals to half of a man. Deliberate murder is proven by the testimonies of two men while women’s testimony is not accounted for at all. Unintentional murder is proven by testimonies of two men or one man and two women. (4) Even the price of blood that a murderer must pay in compensation for the murder of a woman is half that of a man.

Basic rights of women in Iran such as the custody of their children are denied from them. A child is under mandatory guardianship of the father or grandfather on the father’s side. (5)

The brutalities against women extends even to the medieval punishment of stoning. According to fundamentalist mullahs, adultery is punished by stoning. Ruthless criminals bury the male victim up to his waist while the female victim is buried up to her chest before being stoning. (6)

In some circumstances, the law provides that if victims manage to dig up themselves and run away while sentence is being carried out, they are free to go. As the woman is buried up to her chest, it is obvious that she has less chance to free herself than a man buried up to his waist.

In Iran, the Islamic Punishment Law sanctions crimes against women. A husband can kill his wife for having relations with another man while he can be acquitted of murder. (7)

Pedophilia is legalized under inhumane laws of the fundamentalist regime. A 9-year-old little girl could be wed to an 80-year-old man. This is because the age of puberty for the girls is 9 lunar years (8 solar years and 9 months). For boys, it is 15 lunar years (14 solar years and six months). (8) This is child marriage which is against human rights principles and norms for the girl child.

Under the Islamic Punishment Law, a child refers to the person who has not reached the religious age of maturity. Setting the age of maturity for a girl child just under 9 years means that if she commits a crime, since she is considered mature, she will be dealt with as an adult and all the legal punishments like flogging, execution and even stoning can be issued for her.

The regime calls anyone opposing against it as “Mohareb” which means the enemy of God. The sentence for Mohareb is execution. Iran holds the world’s highest record of executions per capita and it includes women and minors.

In the summer of 1988, Pursuant to a fatwa issued by then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed. The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran “PMOI” (MEK). A Death Committee comprising of three members approved all death sentences. Ebrahim Raisi, Presidential candidate of 2017 was one of the three. Another member is Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi who is today Hassan Rouhani’s Justice Minister. One third of the victims executed were women. Thousands of children were executed.

“Children as young as 13 were hanged from cranes, six at a time, in a barbaric two-month purge of Iran’s prisons on the direct orders of Ayatollah Khomeini. Secret documents smuggled out of Iran reveal that, because of the large numbers of necks to be broken, prisoners were loaded onto forklift trucks in groups of six and hanged from cranes in half-hourly intervals” – The Telegraph (9)

Many families were never informed about the executions of their loved ones and many of the victims were buried in unmarked mass graves. On August 9, 2016, an audio tape was published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir acknowledging that that massacre had been ordered at the highest levels. The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have never been brought to justice.

The regime has increased suppression against women during Rouhani’s tenure. Since Rouhani took office four years ago, 3,000 people have been executed which is more than his predecessor, Ahmadinejad. Three days after sham election on 19 May, there was a mass execution of 10 people.

Despite crimes committed against humanity in Iran, Iranian people’s Resistance continues.  Ironically, the largest and most organized Opposition movement to the fundamentalists, the PMOI (MEK) is led entirely by women. The PMOI is part of a broad democratic coalition called the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The NCRI acts as the government in exile. It has mass popular support both inside and outside Iran. The President elect of the NCRI is also a woman, Maryam Rajavi who leads the movement. She has put in place a 10-point plan for a free future Iran. (10)

After 38 years of dictatorship and systematic violations of their basic human rights, Iranian people demand regime change. This is the only way forward for the establishment of freedom, democracy and equality in Iran. The regime change is possible without the need for any external war. All Iranian people wish for is for the West to end “Appeasement Policy” towards the Iranian regime and to postpone and condition trades and economic agreements with the regime on the improvement of human rights situation.

The 10-point plan of Maryam Rajavi represents a viable alternative to Iran’s ruling theocracy and should be recognized and supported by the international community.


(1) Article 1105 of the Civil Code

(2) Article 1133 of the Civil Code

(3) Article 638 of the Islamic Punishment Law

(4) Article 237 of the Islamic Punishment Law

(5) Article 1180 of the Civil Code

(6) Article 102 of the Penal Code (The Islamic Punishment Law) on stoning

(7) Article 630 of the Islamic Punishment Law

(8) Article 1210 of the Civil Code – Amendment 1

(9) The Telegraph: 04 Feb 2001

(10) Maryam Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan for Future Iran:

Laila Jazayeri

Director, Association of Anglo-Iranian Women in the UK

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  1. I all the time used to read article in news papers but now as I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

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