Iran- A Woman's Prison From Birth to Death

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Last week a petition signed by a majority of 'reformist' MPs in the Islamic Parliament called on the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to appoint several women as ministers in his next government. Over the last few days the 16th the 17th female victims of serial murders were found in  Mashad and today , 11th of July yet another woman was stoned to death in Iran, accused of  adultery . Of course Islamic MPs will not realise the irony of  the timing of their motion but history will judge the situation of Iranian women in these first years of the 21st century, not on the basis of how many women amongst elite Islamic families, were  holding ministerial  posts, but on the plight  majority of Iranian women. Women who suffer every aspect of sexual apartheid in their daily life, in segregation in health and education, women who have to suffer the humiliating conditions of forced veiling, women who are flogged  if they fail to adhere to the strictest interpretation of Islamic moral law, women who are victims of the most severe forms of religious punishment such as flogging, death by stoning ,and more recently serial murders by religious fanatics.

For Iranian women who are not allowed to travel on their own , for women who could be executed for being seen in public with a man who is not an immediate relative,  daily life is becoming unbearable, that is why most of them  couldn't care less about gesture politics by Islamic MPs.

As long as the constitution and the penal code in Iran remain so heavily biased against women, the political position of elite Muslim women, close to circles of power , either as ministers or in various Government offices will make no difference. Khatami could appoint women to all the positions in his government, by participating in the Islamic state's ruling organisations, with a constitution that deprives women of basic legal, social and political rights, they can do no more than cooperate in the anti women policies of this government.

Those who reduce women's struggles for equality to the superficial level of political posts held by minority of women, have failed to understand the importance and significance of the woman's movement in Iran. A movement whose immediate task is overthrow of the religious state in order to achieve its most basic demands for legal and formal equality.

Of course social and political equality will require even more than just the abolition of the religious state. A major change in the social division of labour, in the economic and political structures of the country will be the essential conditions for achieving equality.

This article was supplied by the Women's Committee of Workers Left Unity- Iran , visit their website or email