Accessibility links

A 'Positive Move' For Iranian Women

Sussan Tahmasebi

Sussan Tahmasebi

By 171 votes to 42, the Iranian parliament has approved an amended version of the so-called “Family Support Bill” by dropping controversial clauses that opponents feared would have encouraged polygamy.

Referred to by women's rights activists as the "antifamily law,” one clause of the bill would have eliminated the need for the consent of a man's first wife if he decides to marry another spouse. Instead, the bill would require men to provide a judicial permit for a second marriage that confirms they can provide financially for the new wife and that both wives will be treated equally.

A second clause would have permitted the taxation of money the husband agrees to pay his wife under a marriage contract.

The clauses were vigorously opposed by women's rights activist, political factions and social activists, as well as by some Iranian clergy and the head of the country's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi.

The changes to the bill met with resistance by some fundamentalist members of parliament and the Iranian cabinet, but women's rights activists generally hailed it as one step in the right direction and as a victory for the Iranian women's movement.

Women's rights campaigner Sussan Tahmasebi is quoted by Reuters as saying "it is a very positive move. We think it is great that parliament listened to women's voices." But she said activists still have problems with other aspects of the bill, such as provisions on women marrying non-Iranians. She said she hopes for a "positive dialogue" with lawmakers.

One deputy from Tehran, Ali Motahari, argued that “polygamy is one of Islam’s glories," adding that a "wife’s permission for a man’s second marriage is against Islamic laws and the parliament should not be influenced by such matters."

Though the bill was approved in totality, debate will continue in parliament about some of its sections.

(by Iraj Gorgin)

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More