Women’s responsibility for suggesting new laws for future Iran

For the last few months several groups inside and outside of Iran began to discuss the future Iran after the political system of the Islamic republic has been fallen.  There are debates not only on the social media but also on the streets in Iran.  We know women are standing in front line for freedom and democracy. No matter the future political system will be a Republic or a Monarchy Women are themselves responsible to fight for their rights and be prepared to suggest new just laws for women.  It is possible for a majority of Iranian women achieve an agreement for new laws.  We know discriminatory philosophies against women have been institutionalized through the Iranian civil law and are implemented by force.  Here are some examples:

Women are not respected as equal human beings: For example women’s witness in a court have no value in most cases, the court accept only men’s witnesses. In cases such as murder, two women’s witnesses are equal with a man. تفاوت شهادت زن و مرد در قانون جزائی و مدنی ایران چیست؟ – شهادت زن در دادگاه (vakil-esfahan.ir) . A husband can prevent his wife to get a job. According to the article 1117 of the Iranian civil Law “The husband may prohibit his wife from a profession or industry that is incompatible with her family interests or the dignity of herself or the wife.” ماده 1117 قانون مدنی (davoudabadi.ir). Women need permission from their husband to get a passport or travel. According to Article 18 of the Passport Law, submitting a written agreement with the husband is one of the conditions for issuing passports to “married women.”;اخذ حق خروج از کشور زوجه از همسر خود بصورت دائمی چگونه ممکن است؟ – عدالت سرا (edalatsara.com)

The value of Women’s lives is the half of the men: Blood money or Diyeh (دیه )  is a money should be paid to a victim of murder to his/her heirs and to a victim of injury. According to article 300. The blood money ( Diyeh)  – for the first- and second-degree murder of a Muslim woman is half of that of a murdered Muslim man. در چه صورت دیه مرد و زن مساوی است؟ | دیه یا خون بها جزء یکی – شعار سال (ghatreh.com) This year price for the blood money for a man is 600. Million tomans and for a woman is 300 millions tomans دیه کامل زن چیست و آیا با دیه مرد برابر است؟ | ایده آل مگ (idehalmag.com).  A Woman inherits half of a man:  According to Article 920 of Iranian civil law, “if the hires of the deceased consist of several full brothers and sisters, of the several half bothers and half sisters on the father’s side, the share of male will be half that of a female. ماده 920 قانون مدنی (davoudabadi.ir)

Women and young girls are sexual objects and men’s property : While a man freely can marry to four women, have sexual relationship with unlimited women through so called,  temporary marriages, sigheh,  Temporary marriage in Iran and women’s rights | Middle East Institute (mei.edu)women can be punished with stoning for adultery. سنگسار در قانون جدید مجازات اسلامی – مرکز اسناد حقوق بشر ایران (iranhrdc.org)  Child marriages has been increased for the last several years: According to the latest report by the Statistical Center of Iran this spring, the number of “registered” marriages of girls aged 10 to 14 has grown by 32% compared to the same figures last spring reached  9,753 recorded marriages .  «کودک همسر»؛ رکوردشکنی ازدواج دختران ۱۰ تا ۱۴ ساله در ایران طی بهار ۱۴۰۰ | Euronews  Every year 400-500 women are killed brutally in Iran to protect men’s “honor.” The killers are usually close relatives — often the victim’s father, husband, or brother. Iranian women campaign to stop the rise in “honor killings” | Middle East Institute (mei.edu). Article 301 stipulates that a father and paternal grandfather are not to be retaliated against for killing their child. According to Islamic law, a father owns his child’s blood and therefore he can go without penalty if he or his father kills his child

One million signature Campaign against the discriminatory law against women    

Iranian women activists for gender equality organized several protests on the street during 2005 to 2007 and in 2008 they established the One Million Signatures for Gender Equality. One-Million-Signatures-Campaign-English_0.pdf (learningpartnership.org) The campaign was supported by Shireen Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Price winner,  and thousands of other women lawyers, journalists, academics and other professional women as well as young girls, house wife, and ordinary men and women in Iran. They explained the discriminatory law in a simple language. In major cities in Iran women began to organize seminars and educational classes about the civil law related to women. The campaign could not gather the one million signatures, because the revolution- and security guard arrested, and prisoned them, many others left the country as refugees.  However, women could create awareness about women’s rights, they learned team work, and they experienced collaboration cross political beliefs, ethnicity, and social statues.  One of the conclusions women achieve is: Changing the Islamic laws in Iran is impossible.

Even if the One Million Signature Campaign for Gender Equality could collect 10 million signatures, and even if 100% of the members of the Iranian Majlis were agreed to change the laws, in a case the laws were identified being against the sharia (Islamic laws)  by the Council of Guardian, they have the power to reject the law. The members of Council of Guardians, as well as Ayatollah Khamenei interpret the Islamic civil laws as the words of God. If the Council of Guardians accept to remove the Islamic laws about women, they have also declared their own fall.  According to the authorities in Iran the Islamic laws are universal for all people and for all time. Lesson 34: Islam Is Universal And Eternal | Theological Instructions (Amuzish-e Aqa’id) | Al-Islam.org

Women’s historical responsibility

Iran has a long history, more than 7000 years, and during all this time the religious institution and the power of a state or a king were separated until 1979. As the Islamic state’s moral and their Islamic criteria to control people, they have shown corruptions and suppression thus they lost political moral legitimacy and influences among a large part of Iranians. Never in Iranian history for the last several hundred years we had this high percentage of Iranian citizen openly express not identifying themselves as non-Muslim and even express hate against Islam. One of the results of the Islamic state is that Islam and Islamic clergies have lost their holiness.  Over all, the Shia clergies have lost their respect and trust among Iranians.

We may conclude the experiences of the last 43 years of an Islamic state provided a majority of Iranian asking for a secular state. The question for secularism in Iran is not only a separation the state from Islamic institutions but also in which degree Shia Islam could have influences within a new Constitution, within Civil and Criminal laws,  and within the educational system. Establishing a secular state is realistic, in fact the process of secularism in all its aspect began to accelerate with the Islamic state.  In spite of we cannot predict when and how changes are going to happen Iranian women can and are responsible to participate in discussion for future laws for women in Iran beyond all religious beliefs.

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