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DOIW's Statments Slider Women and Work

Suppression and persecution of women intensifies, as the theocratic regime’s fear of women’s power grows

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women condemns the wave of arrests of women, including many women from Mothers for Justice, and the persecution of women and violation of their rights, under the pretext of ‘saving hejab and chastity’.

The new round of arrests in Iran, which started with a recent speech and “permission” of Vali Faqih, Ayatollah Khamene’i, has entered a new stage and once again the repression of civil society and the popular movement of Iran is intensifying as pressure against women increases to an unprecedented level.

The regime has proved incapable of solving the country’s dire social and economic problems, especially the unprecedented levels of poverty and unemployment, the ever-increasing cost of living, mainly borne by the workers and their families, and the deepening class divide. The ongoing struggle of the workers, teachers, retirees, in the form of long-running protests, have met with the regime’s usual response of escalating the crises by terror tactics, arresting the protestors and activists from all walks of life, trade unions, political organisations, civil institutions, students, and artists; and suppressing one of the battalions of Iran’s popular movement against theocratic tyranny – women.

The regime tries to fight a psychological war by creating an atmosphere of fear in order to confront the struggle. Its measures have taken many forms, including the implementation of the “Protection of Chastity and Hijab” bill, which was approved in the parliament, with the endorsement of the regime’s well-known figures such as Haddad Adel, Gholamreza Misbahi Moghadam, Fatemeh Alba, Mehrdad Bazarpash in August 2019; along with a wave of notices and instructions issued by the Supreme Leader and other officials dictating the type of clothing that may be worn by women in public, in government buildings and banks. These were accompanied by threats of wage deductions, the dismissal of women from the workplace and the intensification of the discrimination against women that is already in place. They have been accompanied by the use of offensive literature, and threats made at Friday prayers against women. We are witnessing widespread arrests of mothers and the family members of those who seek justice, the unprecedented escalation of cyber attacks on the social media of women activists and the arrest and prison sentences on political, trade union, civil, and women’s rights activists.

The regime spends a massive amount from the public purse to launch new executive arms of repression, such as the establishment of ‘chastity and hijab camps’, that work alongside the existing security forces. According to official media, the secretary of the Headquarters of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, reported that in two weeks 108 teams of 3 were working as ‘evaluators of virtue and hejab’ in the north-eastern Porvince of Khorasan. Filtering is also rife in suppressing protests.

The suppression of women and the brutal violation of their rights under the pretext of hijab, has been a permanent feature of the disgraceful life of the Islamic regime and it has met the brave resistance of women in Iran. With its recent measures, the regime is trying to apply newer Taliban-inspired restrictions that even regime-affiliated institutions are doubtful about. In 2017, the Parliament Research Center published the report: “Factors affecting the implementation of hijab policies and future solutions”, in which it concluded that the society is more opposed to the Irshad patrols than in the past. (The Irshad patrols are brutal groups who travel in vans or on motorbikes who terrorise and may arrest anyone who is deemed to have breached the code of Islamic dress or behaviour.) The authors of this report referred to the Irshad patrol as a “failed experience” with “low effectiveness”. However, the head of the country’s political, ideological and policing organization announced the launch of ‘morality police’ across the country, and the websites affiliated with government institutions talk of the “security guidance patrol” enforcing the hijab, and the small and large agents of the regime, in various forms, are following the leader’s orders to demonstrate that “the sameness of today’s God with the God of the 60s”.  Today there is no field of struggle that does not bear the strong presence of informed Iranian women and girls. The courageous fight of Iranian women against all kinds of inequality, discrimination and violence continues and its connecting with the general struggle of the masses is more important than ever before. The relaunch of various campaigns against mandatory hijab and other misogynistic policies have shown the power of the women’s movement and the regime’s intensification of its violence against women is a sign of its realisation of their impact.

A large number of activitst mothers who play an important role in the popular movement of our country have been arrested – brave women such as the mother of “Vahid Damvar” and his brother Saeed Damvarr, Nahid Shirbisheh the mother of “Pooya Bakhtiari”, the mother of “Mohammed Taheri”, Mahbubeh Ramezani, mother of “Pejman Qalipour” and Rahimeh Yousefzad mother of “Navid Behboodi”, Sakineh Ahmadi mother of “Ibrahim Ketabdar”, Iran Al-Hiari mother of “Mehrdad Moinfar”, Samia Jafarpanah sister of “Mohsen Jafarpanah” whose loved ones are among those killed during the nationwide protests of November 2018. The regime’s ploy of accusing these mothers of receiving money from abroad in order to be disruptive, is caused by the depth of the regime’s fear that the struggle of the families for justice has created in the heart of the tyrannical state, its deeply inhumane, medieval and misogynistic character.

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women expresses its support and solidarity with the families of those arrested. We strongly condemn the wave of arrests of the petitioning mothers, and of activists in the arts, political-civil, women’s rights activists, and lawyers and demand their unconditional release, along with all political and ideological prisoners of Iran.

Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women

July 2022