On Wednesday the People’s Mojahedin Organization or Iran (PMOI / MEK) featured a series of photos illustrating an article titled ‘Women in Iran face dual discrimination’. In publishing the images the main opposition group PMOI hopes to highlight the increasing challenges that women face living under the mullahs’ regime.
One image features a slogan which is printed on the back of a truck saying “Good woman; Dead woman; A woman is not porcelain jug to break, do not hesitate to beat her.” And this example illustrates the level of institutionalized discrimination women face under the religious regime.
Further underlining the discrimination, the article sees that ‘Islamic fundamentalists do not view women as human beings, but as tools for having babies and bringing joy to men’. A point of view which is opposed by Iran’s main opposition group the PMOI / MEK. On the right’s of women, as well as freedom, gender, ethnic and religious equality, human rights and peace, they say ‘they’re not merely political commitments, but also ideological principles.’
On the flip side of institutionalized discrimination comes legalized repression. Again targeting women, it is illustrated in another picture, this time showing a vehicle impounded. Over the side of the vehicle there is a draped cloth banner; the slogan reading in Persian “This car was impounded due to ‘bad veiling’ of its driver and other passengers”.
In a separate article reporting on the ‘Crackdown on women in Iran’ on Wednesday it’s pointed out that on April 8th an ‘ultra-conservative Iranian mullah posted on his Instagram page as a response to a question, “Is improper veiling worse or graft?” (‘graft’ in reference to ‘stealing’, and even ‘although a crime, is considered less severe than improper veiling for women).
Two examples of this organized and arbitrary system of repression are Iranian artist and civil activist Atena Farghadani and civil activist Soheila Mohammadi. The crime they committed was to have taken an active role in cultural life. According to a report by the director general of social and cultural affairs in Khuzistan Province, southwest Iran, “Women in a small percentage take part in social and cultural activities.” Meaning that women like Ms. Farghadani and Ms. Mohammadi easily become targets of repressive laws and religious ideology.
Ms. Farghadani, as an artist and a civil activist, ‘remains in limbo and waiting her day in court’ to answer ‘bogus and outrageous charges raised against her including “insulting MPs in her artwork” and “assembly and collusion with anti-revolutionary individuals.”
Ms. Mohammadi for her civil rights activism was ‘summoned by security forces for questioning after taking part in a ceremony celebrating the Persian New Year, then taken from her house on March 31st.’ Ms. Mohammadi ‘had been interrogated by security forces in the past due to her civil and environmental activities.’