Iran: Editorial: Shutting Down "Zanan"
Mr. Ahmadinejad — with the backing of Iran’s most conservative mullahs — won election in 2005 promising economic reform and an end to political corruption. He has failed to deliver either. In an era of $100 a barrel oil, Iran’s people are struggling with food shortages, high unemployment and spiraling inflation.
He has tried to divert attention from those failures with threats against Israel, Holocaust denials and a confrontation with the United Nations Security Council over nuclear ambitions. Iranians are not so easily fooled.
Fearing just that, Mr. Ahmadinejad and his allies are pressing the vetting committees to keep a much higher than usual number of moderates and reform candidates off the ballot. Already large numbers of reformers have been told that they will not be allowed to run. According to government data, 8.16 percent of the current candidates for Parliament are women. That is down from 9.89 percent four years ago. Some women are now talking about trying to enter the race with an all-female slate of candidates — challenging the government to throw them off.
The order to close Zanan, which means women, is the latest outrage and a sign of how much Mr. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs fear any debate. It should be reversed immediately.
Ms. Sherkat, a former religious revolutionary turned pragmatic feminist, has kept Zanan open for 16 years and 152 issues, despite financial and political pressures. She has managed to inform her readers without overly infuriating the mullahs — until now. According to reports from Iran, authorities said that the magazine was a “threat to the psychological security of the society” because it showed Iranian women in a “black light.”
The truth is, the magazine respected and celebrated Iranian women by offering articles on health, parenting, legal issues, literature and women’s achievements. One recent article argued that laws codifying unequal treatment of women in Islamic countries lacked justification under Islamic law and could be changed. The only psychological threat Zanan posed was to the regime’s authoritarian and anti-feminist pathology.
Mr. Ahmadinejad may be able to stifle debate, for a while longer. If Iran’s mullahs think that he’s strengthening the country, they don’t understand Iran’s people.
7 February 2008
Source: New York Times
- Press Release by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders on the Appeal Verdict in the Case of Yara Sallam and Sanaa Seif
- Iran's Women's Affairs Chief Feels Powerless To Act
- Prominent Women Human Rights Defender Esraa Abdel-Fattah Banned From Traveling Outside Egypt
- Bangladesh: Government plans to relocate camps cause fear and anxiety among Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.
- North Africa: Racism, sexism and violence against sub-Saharan African migrant women
- Please acquit and release Asia Bibi
- Over 220 Global Organizations Call for Immediate Release of Seven Imprisoned Women Human Rights Defenders in Egypt
- Send your support to Yara Sallam and other human rights defenders imprisoned in Egypt
- URGENT: Join the international campaign against Egypt’s repressive protest law!
- Arbitrary Arrests and Detention of Women Human Rights Defenders
- Egypt: #noprotestlaw campaign abridged toolkit
- Disposable Victims: Laws and Practices on Gender-related Killings of Women and Girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran
- 35 Years of Forced Hijab: The Widespread and Systematic Violation of Women's Rights in Iran
- No One is Safe: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System
- Early and Forced Marriage in the Islamic Republic of Iran