TEHRAN, Iran (Kurdistan24) – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, recently warned his people gender equality was a “Zionist plot.”
Talking to a group of religious speakers, Khamenei said Western countries and Zionists were trying to corrupt the role of women in society.
“Making women a commodity and an object of gratification in the Western world is most likely among Zionist plots aiming to destroy the society,” he said, according to a translation on the Shia Muslim leader’s official website.
“Today, Western thinkers and those who pursue issues such as gender equality regret the corruption which it has brought about,” he added.
Khamenei explained some tasks for women “collapse and humiliate” their primary roles as housewives and mothers.
International Human Rights organizations have called upon Iran to stop gender discrimination, domestic violence, early marriage, unequal access to health, education, political, and economic participation.
In her March 2017 report on Iran, Asma Jahangir, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur, regretted no progress had been made toward the elimination of legal provisions which discriminate women in various fields.
“It is particularly disturbing that blatantly discriminatory provisions such as those contained in the penal code which stipulates that the value of a woman’s life is equal to half of a man’s remain in force,” she stated.
Last August, the Iranian parliament reintroduced the controversial Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Plan to “increase the pregnancy rate to 2.5 percent of the quantitative population growth until the year 2025.”
It also “prohibits hiring ‘single individuals’ to faculty positions in all public and private education and research institutions,” and gives “hiring preference to men compared to women.”
Activists say the plan which reduces women’s role to baby-making machines has made access to contraceptives difficult and would increase Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) in the society.
Surgical contraception is outlawed, access to contraception is restricted, and the provision of information on contraceptive methods is banned.
Additionally, the funding for government family planning programs has also decreased.
Women’s rights activists are arrested and intimated in droves. Child marriage remains legally possible for girls aged 13, and for boys aged 15.
Even younger children can be married with the permission of the court, but the marriage may not be consummated until puberty.
In June, a spokesperson for the Tehran-based Association to Protect the Rights of Children stated child marriages had reached alarming levels.
They also stressed approximately 17 percent of all marriages in the country involved girls married to older men.
Moreover, the Iranian legal framework fails to protect women from violence and to criminalize marital rape. Article 1108 obliges wives to fulfill the sexual needs of their husbands at all times.
Articles 301 and 612, of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code provide lighter or no punishment if a murder is committed by a father or paternal grandfather of the victim.
Feminists who object to such laws are, according to the supreme leaders, corruptors of women’s roles and puppets of Zionism.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany