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Appeal by the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women to the WIDF

Following the spate of organised acid attacks against women in the City of Isfahan and the arrest of women who have protested against these KHODSARinhumane and violent crimes, the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women has written to the Women’s International Democratic Federation and appealed for international solidarity with the women of Iran at a difficult time in their struggle. The text of the appeal reads as follows: ”The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women conveys its greetings to the leadership and esteemed members of the Women’s International Democratic Federation. We are writing to express our deep concern about the escalation of inhumane state violence against the women of our country. The regime of the Islamic Republic is continuing its reactionary policies in arenas of legislation and policy making and the brutal suppression of women in different forms. In recent weeks this has taken the form of acid attacks on women, followed by the regime’s indifference and its protection of the perpetrators of these acts of violence. The aim of the regime’s medieval policies is to remove women from the arena of public life, to force them into the domestic arena and to surrender to the ideology of the ruling reaction.

In this regard, we draw your attention to the ratification of misogynistic laws going through the parliament recently, including bills such as ‘support for enjoiners (enforcers of adherence to religious instructions) and forbidders of vice’ which effectively amounts to the legal sanctioning of terrorizing and violent oppression of women by fundamentalists. These measures utilize religious tools and reactionary policies in order to remove women from the economic and social arena and to take control of women’s body, life and work. Bills such as “Maintenance of Chastity and Modesty (Hejab)” promote unprecedented restrictions on women’s employment and remove them from the workplace under the pretext of maintaining Modesty (hejab), and implementing policies based on reducing permissible working hours for women, enshrining in law a ban on employing single women, the Bill for the increase in population (instructing women to bear children and making access to contraception close to impossible for women, without consideration to population control and the appalling economic conditions that people face because of the neo-liberal policies adopted by the regime), segregation of the sexes and banning women and girls from entering many courses in university; at the same time passing reactionary laws against women rights (paternalistic laws which allow men to have multiple wives and even the marriage of a step-father with a child, which is a reminder of the age of slavery) are but a few policies being implemented against women in our country today.”
“In recent weeks a chain of acid attacks on girls have been carried out in the major city of Isfahan. These crimes have been met with silence and indifference by the regime.”
“The misogynist regime of Islamic Republic has not only failed to condemn or arrest those responsible for these crimes, but it has threatened the people who have protested and demanded that the state should maintain the safety of all in public life. This response betrays the open and hidden support of Iran’s rulers for their Da’esh-like (ISIL-like) acts of violence against women.”
“The arrest of women’s movement activist, Mahdieh Golroo and the journalists who reported the brutal wave of acid attacks, indicates the regime’s approval of the attacks and has given ground to further unease and insecurity in the society.”
“Dear Comrades and friends,
The Peking Declaration stated that women are the first victims of violence, especially of state violence. The violence perpetrated by the medieval regime under the disguise of religious belief is nothing new. The acts of criminal groups in Afghanistan, the crimes of Da’esh (ISIL) in the region and the misogynistic policies of the Islamic Republic in the guise of religious teachings, are clear examples of this fact. The oppression of women and use of terror aimed at keeping women in the domestic sphere, started from the day after the victory of Iran’s 1979 Revolution. It was aimed at returning this massive force that had entered the social arena, back into the corner of the home; and it has succeeded to a large degree in doing so through its reactionary and misogynistic laws and policies.”
“These policies have been determined and led by the Supreme Religious Leader (Vali-e-Faghih), God’s representative on Earth. Brutal acid attacks are part and parcel of the reactionary, patriarchal and inhumane policies that the rulers of the Islamic Republic are imposing on the Iranian society. In recent months, Khamane’I, the Leader, has spoken repeatedly of the need for women to stay at home, raise the children and be a wife; he has directed the executive, legislative and judiciary to this end.
The brave women of Iran, side by side with progressive forces and parties, and other popular organizations, have issued statements and called for an end to this human tragedy and demanded that not only the perpetrators but also their masters should be arrested and punished. They demand that all protestors, including women’s movement activist Mahdieh Golroo, should be freed immediately.
Dear comrades,
We appeal to you to express your solidarity with the women of Iran who are fighting an unequal battle for their inalienable right to be active in all arenas of public life- economic, educational, scientific, cultural and social; and who face oppression and prison daily; and to publicise their struggle. We call on the progressive forces of Iran and the world, including the Women’s International Democratic Federation to express their solidarity with Iranian women and organise international protests at the violent breach of women’s rights in Iran, especially the recent crimes against the human rights of women in the city of Isfahan; and by doing so to force the medieval Islamic Republican regime to stop.”

MaZanan 03.11.2014

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