Apr 302007
 

Public Statement by Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran

FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: press@wfafi.org

BOSTON, MA- -Since April 23, 2007, Tehran’s regime has launched an extensive and brutal crackdown on women for “promoting virtues and combating vice.” Thousands of women have been beaten, arrested and warned to follow the strict dress code of the Islamic Republic. Comments by Iranian Officials:

Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s Chief Prosecutor: “Majority of these mannequins (referring to women) appearing in public belong to criminal gangs and will be put away.” April 24, 2007 (Mortazavi is known for his role in rape and killing of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist in summer of 2003.)


Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, Member of Parliament, “The current situation is shameful for an Islamic government. A man who sees these models on the streets will pay no attention to his wife at home, destroying the foundation of the family.” April 24, 2007
Mehdi Kalhor, Media Advisor to Ahmadinejad, in his letter to General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, country’s top police officer: “I see that your forces have entered a war with this cultural invasion.” April 24, 2007
203 Members of Parliament in their letter to Moghaddam expressed their support for the way police acted. They also blamed the United States and Israel for “inciting” Iranian women not to respect the Islamic dress code, including the shrouding of the head with the head scarf (hijab). April 25, 2007
Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, Speaker of Parliament, described the new ‘moralizing’ campaign which includes a strict application of the dress code as an “admirable act” and urged women to “believe strongly in the hijab”. April 25, 2007
Seyyed Mehdi Tabatabai, Member of Parliament: “those who do not respect the dress code and refuse to wear the hijab have no place in an Islamic country and should leave.” April 25, 2007 (Mr. Tabatabai seems to have forgotten that Iran’s constitution bars women from traveling without permission of their male-guardian and monetary bond.)
Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, Minister of Culture and Islamic Orientation, defined the police operation as “a holy deed” and added: “It is unacceptable that some have shown dissatisfaction with the police’s behavior and have placed obstacles against the campaign. Newspapers who create problems for the police will not be tolerated for much longer, and action will soon be taken against them.” April 25, 2007
General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, country’s top police officer: “During the first four days [since the code came into effect] we have picked up 150,000 women who were not properly veiled, but many of them were released after they signed an admission of guilt and a formal apology.” April 26, 2007
Mullah Alamol-Hoda, speaking in Mashhad Friday’s sermon: “violation of Islamic dress code is worse than crimes like stealing or murder. We must confront this issue swiftly and decisively. We must punish the violators according to our Islamic laws.” April 27, 2006
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, regime’s president:”Our enemies want a limited group of people, mostly youth, to hit the streets dressed in a vulgar manner to provoke police intervention and then use against our country the bad feelings of young people who have been mistreated by security officials.” April 27, 2007

This new campaign against women carries a significant message for everyone, particularly the teachers, students and labor movements who recently have staged the largest uprisings throughout the country. Using women, the fundamentalist regime is trying to assert its control and alarm the public at a time spreading popular dissent and protests.

With the Islamic fundamentalist regime’s agenda filled with violence directed towards women, Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI) urges the world community, particularly women’s organization and human rights groups to strongly object any form of coercion and control over the female population. Gender apartheid must end in Iran and it is clear that women’s leadership is critical to confront such backward and misogynous regime. WFAFI supports the voice of freedom and democracy from all those inside and outside the country who believe a woman’s choice is her own. WFAFI also declares that a democratic Iran is only possible with a women-led movement.

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See also this piece by Scherezade Faramarzi,

“Activists say that while world attention has focused on the West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear program, the abuses of women’s rights have intensified, using fear of a U.S. attack as a pretext.”

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 April 30, 2007  Posted by on April 30, 2007

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