In a rare acknowledgement of the ongoing rights violations in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani admitted this week that Iranian women still face discrimination in the country.
On Women’s Day, Rouhani said that while women were not universally treated as second-class citizens, more had to be done to protect their rights – although the West offered no “model” of gender equality that Iran could follow to combat “deficiencies” in “equal opportunities, security and social rights.”
According to AFP, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also pardoned some female prisoners in honor of the occasion – none of them, presumably, political prisoners.
It’s nice to see Iran acknowledge its human rights violations. In this case, Rouhani could blame the state of women in Iran on cultural limitations which have yet to be resolved. In other cases, such as the treatment of prisoners, the perpetuation of the situation cannot be so easily explained away.
Even as Rouhani and Khamenei spoke, a woman with dual British-Iranian citizenship faced execution for calling Iran’s government “too Islamic” on Facebook.
Meanwhile, dozens of relatives of prisoners jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison protested outside Iran’s parliament following an earlier attack on political prisoners which was described as “unprecedented” by al-Monitor.
According to the report, four political prisoners from Ward 350 were hospitalized after over 100 prison guards beat them systematically with sticks until “the corridor was covered in blood.” Other prisoners, some with health problems, were sent to solitary confinement.
So all this happened in the last week – but what really caught the Western media’s eye was a bereaved mother who stopped the execution of her son’s killer. The story was everywhere in the English-language press, along with alarming statistics on Iran’s high rate of public executions, putting the Iranian human rights issue back on the agenda.