Throughout 2014, we told you about the Iranian attitude to the LGBT community, reporting that two men may have been hanged in the country’s south for “consensual sodomy.” We stated that this was emblematic of a wider issue, one with particularly resonant implications for the West – the difficulty of bridging the vast gap between Iran and the West when it comes to tolerance, especially with regard to sex.
In Iran, this chasm is presented as one not between tolerance and intolerance, rights and freedoms and a conspicuous lack thereof, but between an ethical, principled attitude toward sexuality and one that is deviant, self-destructive, monstrous; inconceivably, irreparably depraved.
Recent surveys – including one sanctioned by the Iranian government – have shown that the sexual norms prevalent in Iran today, particularly among the younger generation, are not so different from those commonplace in the secular West. And yet, a recent report on The Daily Beast, adapted from one originally published by Iran Wire (which comes on the heels of an earlier report on Iran’s gender double standards), revealed the lengths to which Iranian officials will go to exaggerate the perception of the West as morally bankrupt and licentious.
The Daily Beast version, provocatively titled “50 Shades of Iran: The Mullahs’ Kinky Fantasies about Sex in the West,” described in detail the “incredible stories” Iranians are told about sex in the West – from the emotional brokenness of its men and women to the practices, like bestiality and incest, resulting from it. This is meant to encourage girls to wear the Islamic veil in order to preserve the chastity of society – for if they don’t, men’s libidos will suffer – and “this would not benefit women,” who would be forced to turn to animals instead. Yes, you read that right.
Iran and the P5+1 are growing ever closer to a nuclear deal – so why do we feel like the chasm between them is as wide as it has ever been, and not just in this particular area?