Thursday, August 25, 2016


Iran Deputies To Mull Draft Law Restricting Women's Right To Travel

The draft law stipulates that single women up to the age of 40 must receive official permission from their father or male guardian in order to obtain travel documents.
The draft law stipulates that single women up to the age of 40 must receive official permission from their father or male guardian in order to obtain travel documents.

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Lawmakers in Iran are preparing to consider legislation that may drastically alter an adult woman's ability to obtain a passport and travel outside the country.

The draft law, set to go before the 290-seat Majlis, stipulates that single women up to the age of 40 must receive official permission from their father or male guardian in order to obtain travel documents.

Under current law, all Iranians under 18 years of age -- both male and female -- must receive paternal permission before receiving a passport. Married women must receive their husband's approval to receive the documents.

The proposal is expected to find support in the conservative Majlis.

Distinct Disadvantage

Critics say the draft law is the latest attack on women in a country whose Islamic leaders are eager to scale back a burgeoning rights movement.

Human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that Iran's interpretation of Shari'a law puts girls and women at a distinct disadvantage.

Shirin EbadiShirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
"According to our laws, if a 9-year-old girl commits a criminal offense, she will be tried and punished exactly as a 40-year-old person would," Ebadi says. "But if she wants to leave the country she is required, until the age of 40, to get permission from her father [for a passport]. If her father is deceased, she has to get permission from a judge."

Iran's civil code overwhelmingly favors fathers and husbands in all personal matters related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody.

Girls may be legally married as early as 13, and some lawmakers argue the age may, under Islamic interpretation, drop as low as 9. All women require permission from a male guardian to marry, regardless of their age.

Under Iranian law, women are also strictly compromised in terms of rights to compensation and giving legal testimony.

They are also bound by a strictly observed Islamic dress and conduct code, which forbids casual contact with the opposite sex and ordains that a woman must keep her hair and body covered in public.

Such laws are often used as a pretext to crack down on political opponents.

Some Successes

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent advocate for women's and children's rights, is currently serving a six-year sentence in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for a range of charges, including violating the Islamic dress code for appearing in public without a head scarf.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is in the fourth week of a hunger strike. (file photo)Nasrin Sotoudeh is in the fourth week of a hunger strike. (file photo)
Nasrin Sotoudeh is in the fourth week of a hunger strike. (file photo)
Nasrin Sotoudeh is in the fourth week of a hunger strike. (file photo)
Sotoudeh, who in October was co-awarded the European Union's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, is in the fourth week of a hunger strike.

Women's rights activists have seen some success in fighting back against some of the harsher aspects of Shari'a law.

One campaign claims to have reduced the number of women facing death by stoning for convictions of prostitution or adultery.

Another, the 1 Million Signatures campaign backed by Ebadi, has helped call attention to the stark legal discrimination against women in Iranian laws.

Ebadi, who now works in London after fleeing Iran amid rising harassment, says the rights movement has caused discomfort among Tehran's ruling establishment.

"Feminist movements have become very large, very active in Iran. Women are fighting for equal rights. Equal rights are the first pillar of democracy," Ebadi says. "So the government is using different ways to create restrictions for women."

The draft law on passports and travel comes just months after Iran announced it was closing dozens of university-level courses to women across the country.

Education officials defended the change, saying single-gender courses were needed to reestablish "balance" in the republic's universities, where female students outnumber males 3-to-2.

The move was seen as an attempt to weaken the country's cadres of politically active, well-educated women.

But at a time of low population growth and high unemployment, it may also be an attempt to force independent, working women back into traditional roles as homemakers and mothers.
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Comment Sorting
by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
November 16, 2012 11:18
I doubt if any woman would willingly vote for Sharia Law or this current legislation. It is imposed on them by their male captors, penned in like cattle. Whatever justification the men can offer for these conditions is obviously bogus.

by: JoelB from: USA
November 16, 2012 18:05
A 40-year old woman requires permission of a "male guardian" to travel? This further proves the point that under islam, all women are treated as the property of males, rather than as individual human beings capable of making decisions for themselves. Islam by it's very nature violates the basic rights of 1/2 of it's population.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 17, 2012 08:32
Aha, just compare the women living in Islam with those Western women happily doing the same jobs as men for a salary which is 25-30 % lower that of those men.
But the best of all are such Western women as Hillary Clinton: she has always been successful as a wife, has always been a loving mother and did a great job as the US Secretary of State :-)). If one thinks that in Islam they would prohibit her to talk and to make us all happy by showing her attractive pale face on the TV screen :-))...
In Response

by: JoelB
November 19, 2012 19:00
@Eugenio, Your 'straw man' argument does not stand up. First of all, in many Muslim countries women do not have the freedom to work, or are very restricted in the work they are allowed to perform. Secondly, your figure of women earning 25%-30% less than men in the US is factually incorrect. Women who perform the same jobs and work the same hours earn the same as men. The AVERAGE for women is lower overall because many women choose to work fewer hours and more women choose lower-paying careers than men.

But the point overall is that at least in the US and western countries women have these choices (work, career, travel, whom to marry - or not to marry, what clothing to wear, etc.). In most muslim countries - including Iran - women do not have these choices - they are virtual slaves to men.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 20, 2012 07:17
Good, JoelB, now that you proved me to be wrong on all accounts, the only thing you need to do is to invade Iran and all the other Islamic countries in order to finally liberate their women and make them live the lives full of happiness and "free choices". I just can not wait for ALL the women on Earth to stop "being slaves" and to become similar to Hillary Clinton :-)).
In Response

by: Marcus from: Momabasa
December 02, 2012 23:50

You may have an axe to grind with the West, or maybe are just one of those insecure people who think West-bashing is chic and demonstrates some kind of intellectual superiority.

But your childish attitude does not do justice to the plight of millions of women chafing under absurd social and religious rules in places like Iran.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
December 03, 2012 14:48
Ah, Marcus from Mombasa, why would I need to "do justice to the plight of millions of women" living in "places like Iran"?
I mean, let's say, in a number of Catholic countries, for example, it is more than customary for Catholic priests to sexually abuse Catholic children. Given the fact that this specific web-site pretends to deal with issues relevant to "free" Europe - and given that the Roman Catholic Church is the dominant religious denomination in a number of states in this "free" Europe - I would RATHER expect this site to ceaselessly talk about this specific practice ENROOTED in the Catholic culture due to certain (pretty absurd) practices that Vatican has been imposing on Catholics for centuries.
So, why is it that on the pages of the RFE/RL there is NO avalanche of negative publicity on these practices of the Roman Catholic Church in this "free" Europe? Do you, Marcus from Mombasa, realize that by NOT publishing those articles, the RFE/RL is silencing the topic of massive child abuse in Catholic countries in this "free" Europe and is NOT "doing justice to the plight of millions of" children living here?
And why is it that you personally prefer to talk about the "plight" of someone living in a country that you will most probably not even find on the map of the world, instead of talking about all the pervertion of the Catholic culture that you - living in Mombasa - should be very familiar with?
I wish you had the courage to answer those questions, Marcus. And when I say "answer", I mean ANSWER, and not try to switch the topic to something else.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 17, 2012 09:44
By the way, talking about the MIDDLE EAST: The RFE/RL seems to have somehow missed the events of the last three days in one of the major allies of the US in the region - JORDAN. Spanish media is reporting today that for the last three days people on the streets of the Jordanian capital have been demonstrating and demanding the resignation of the King Abdullah and in general the situation appears to be pretty explosive.
How about publishing an article on that instead of for the 1000th time telling us stories about "hardships" that people have to go through in Iran?
Source on Jordan:

by: Dorothy from: USA
November 18, 2012 19:21
It is very disappointing in my opinion that Iran is considering imposing travel restrictions based on gender alone. During recent decades, Iran has significantly increased the number of universities offering graduate programs, and has also taken steps to promote better health care for its general population. Many Iranian professionals are women. Restricting travel would seem to be a step backwards in time, returning to an era when women did not travel as frequently as they do today.

by: Iranian woman
November 19, 2012 20:38
Islam and Iran's Islamic leaders believe women are not smart enough to make decisions. They are viewed as sex objects whose creation was only amied at pleasing men. Iran's law treats women like animals who are not only frequently harassed in public, they also have no right to get out of this prison where they have been born and condemned to live
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
November 20, 2012 09:01
I want to reveal to you a little secret, my dear Iranian woman.
In any country, a man sees a woman as a sex object.
Here much depends on the woman.
In Russia, a former defense minister fell in love with Evgenia Vasilyeva.
One can to admit that she looks very attractive and sexy.
In a short time she got gold and diamonds so much, that even frequenter RL -camel would have fallen under the weight of jewelry..
As you can see is not always bad to be the subject of sexual desire
I would add that my greatest wish, that the Iranian president was a woman and obscurantist- fanatics disappeared forever..
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
November 20, 2012 10:31
Aah,you are only right Vakhtangay-it is not bad to be the object of sexual desire-All muscovites dream of Vakhtangay since `Moscowsky Komsomolets` published a photo session of Vahtangovitch,baring his rear in the bath.How is it possible,wonder all muscovites,to take a photo of the bath as we all know he has never been in a bath??? Anyway,Vakhtang`s rear looks splendid and already most ministers from the russian cabinet and all georgian ones have expressed their desire for extra marital relationships with V.`The Knight in a tiger`s skin`.But the first two ones in Vakhtangs list are-well, you`ve guessed it-Eugenio and Jack,of course!!!

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