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Iran Says Women Who Are Infertile Or Have 'Too Much Facial Hair' Can't Be Teachers

  • RFE/RL's Radio Farda

You can't be a woman and teach in Iran if you get migraines, have breast or ovarian cancer, are infertile, or have too much facial hair, according to controversial new guidelines. (file photo)

If you’re a woman and are infertile or have “too much facial hair” you can’t become a teacher in Iran, according to a new list of conditions and illnesses issued by the Iranian Education Ministry that disqualifies applicants from being hired as teachers.

According to the list, a “thick accent,” getting “migraines and cluster headaches,” cancers that affect the head, face, or neck and, in the case of women, breast or ovarian cancer, are all taboo for would-be teachers.

Smokers, people who enjoy smoking a hookah, drug users, and alcoholics are also blacklisted, according to the document published by the semiofficial Fars news agency.

Many of the conditions on the extensive list have led to criticism and even ridicule on social media.

“In the Education Ministry’s medieval list, a thick accent and too much facial hair are considered an illness and a barrier for those willing to be hired as teachers. A clear violation of basic human rights,” tweeted Iranian journalist Sara Omatali.

The new government regulations also prevent people suffering from sexual dysfunction or venereal and sexual diseases, including AIDS and syphilis patients, from teaching at Iranian schools.

And those with mental problems, including psychosis, depression, and sexual deviation are also banned.

Journalist and activist Omid Memarian noted that under the new conditions, world-famous physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking -- who suffers from a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- wouldn’t be able to teach in Iran.

Some have blasted the list as discriminatory.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, a presidential assistant for citizens’ rights, has reportedly promised to look into the list.

“The physical and mental conditions of a teacher have a direct impact on the education process. But these guidelines are a clear violation of citizens’ rights,” tweeted rights activist and former teacher Ahmad Medadi.

Iran’s presidential assistant on citizens’s rights, Shahindokht Molaverdi, promised on Twitter to look into the list and announce the results of her investigation.

The regulations are to be applied only to new teachers -- they are not retroactive.

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