London, 10 Mar - The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, decided to share his views on women’s rights on International Women’s Day and it didn’t go down well among Iranian women or their supporters.
Khamenei used Twitter- a site banned for the Iranian people- to praise his bastardised version of Islam for keeping women “modest” and in their “defined roles”, by which he means as wives and mothers, while lashing out at the West for corrupting women into leading a “deviant lifestyle”.
In this Twitter thread, Khamenei harped on about the virtues on the mandatory hijab, which apparently protect women “from abuse by men”, while completely missing the point that women shouldn’t have to dress a certain way to avoid violence and that many women wearing the hijab have been attacked by his agents.
He even went onto imply that the horrific sexual harassment and assault scandals that have been unearthed thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements were somehow the result of women not dressing modestly enough rather than the actions of men.
It’s a completely boring thread from a sexist, religious zealot, espousing how women should be chaste to deserve respect and exactly the kind of drivel you should expect from Iran.
However, he really seems to be caught on the issue of mandatory hijab, as if that is the only thing that concerns Iranian women, and therein lies the most sexist part of this whole thread. Khamenei thinks that women are only concerned about what they wear, not about the huge number of rights that are denied to them on a daily basis just because of where they live.
Every Iranian woman who is currently out in the streets protesting- as part of the ongoing anti-regime protests that swept Iran in December- will tell you that the hijab is not their number one concern, but rather the symptom of a sexist system of laws that are designed to repress them at every turn.
Even the 30 women who have so far been arrested for their protests against the hijab, including Narges Hosseini who was sentenced to two years in prison, will explain that the mandatory hijab is just one of the many sexist things that they suffer through on a daily basis.
The only way to ensure women’s rights in Iran is regime change led by the people to obtain a free and democratic Iran.
Khamenei wants you to believe that Iranian women are in favour of the hijab and the Regime as a whole, but you should listen to the Iranian women who took to their social media accounts and the streets to rebuke this.
They posted photos of themselves without the hijab, they organised demonstrations calling for greater rights for women, they promoted the voices of female leaders like Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and they firmly told the world that they do not agree with the mullahs.
One activist group wrote: “On this one day, out of an entire year, we as women of this country should be able to make these cities our own, stay in the streets, and return to our homes at days’ end, without having our bones crushed.”