- Medical certificates are required to rule out any of the couple have a dangerous disease or drug addition that could jeopardize the future children (Sounds like something out of a Hitler book!)
- If a man marries or divorces without registering it, he will be fined between $2000-$10,000.
- If a doctor issues a false certificate about exclusion of addiction or dangerous illness, his license will be suspended for 5 years.
- A non-Iranian who marries an Iranian woman without obtaining necessary permissions will be jailed between 91 days to one year! Even the woman and her 'guardian" who have consented to this marriage will be punished!
- >If an Iranian woman divorces in a court outside Iran, that divorce is not recognized and she will be considered married upon arrival to Iran (and thus dependent on permissions of the husband for every little thing.)
- A man marrying an underaged woman will be jailed between 2-5 years. If the underaged woman dies as a result of marriage (read rape), the man will have to pay "diyeh" (price of life, monetary) and will be jailed between 5-10 years!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
These days, Iranian women and Iranian women activists are fiercely battling a retrograde legislation that Ahmadinejad tabled in 2007 and is now put to vote.
"The Legislation of Family Support".
Ahmadinejad's objective, as he states is the following:
با عنايت به نقش و جايگاه ويژه نهاد خانواده در نظام حقوقي و تربيتي اسلام و با توجه به غيرشرعي اعلام شدن بخشهايي از قوانين مربوط به حقوق خانواده و وجود خلاءهاي قانوني در اين زمينه و نظر به متشتت بودن مقررات اين حوزه و معلوم نبودن ناسخ و منسوخ آنها که موجب آثار زيانبار و مشکلات عديده اي از جمله سردرگمي محاکم دادگستري در رسيدگي به دعاوي خانوادگي شده است و با لحاظ برخي کاستي ها و نواقص در قوانين موجود حاکم بر نهاد خانواده و عدم تطبيق آنها با واقعيت روز و به منظور تحقق بخشيدن به مفاد اصل (21) قانون اساسي جمهوري اسلامي ايران و در راستاي تحقق سياست قضا زدايي و براي کاهش يا مرتفع نمودن مشکلات موجود در قواعد حقوق خانواده و رفع ابهام ، تعارض و خلاً از قوانين و مقررات کنوني خانواده و در اجراء بند (2) اصل (158) قانون اساسي؛ لايحه زير جهت طي تشريفات قانوني تقديم مي شود
Which basically means: he wishes to un-judiciarize the family law and make it more common-sensical, which he interprets as less confusing. Yes, Mahmoud is a reductionist; he wants everything facile enough to be comprehensible by a fruit-fly!
The most adamantly and loudly opposed article of the legislation is the following:
a) The right to second (third and forth marriage) is no longer dependent on consent from the first wife; rather it is determined by the court, after the man proves he is financially capable of providing for all wives fairly.
b) The matrimony allowance (Mahriyeh, a prenuptial agreement that guarantees the woman would receive certain sum of money, gold, land or other during the course of marriage. However, this sum is only claimed at the time of divorce. Usually, the amount of Mahriyeh is related to the socioeconomic status of the woman--of course there are rampant women like myself who ask for symbolic things of no monetary value, should the marriage fall apart.) is taxable, and the taxation ratio is ad-hoc; and depends on current economic situation of the country!!
c) Presence of a female counsel in the family court proceedings is no longer obligatory.
There are a few other amusing clauses:
I am now very angry!
Where is that 1-million signature sheet? I refused to sign when I was asked a few years back, but I like to sign it now!
I heard that an acquaintance, whose husband cheated on her, has decided to not follow up with her divorce request; because the first person who made an indecent proposal was the judge of the case who proposed to accelerate her divorce if she agrees to a temporary marriage to him. It seems the sexual harassment and insinuations begin immediately when a woman entertains the prospect of being a divorcee: from the court soldier to the honorable judge ... She has decided to "have the shadow and the name of a man whom she hates, rather than expose herself to indecent proposals." I am sure she will soon agree to her cheating husband marrying his mistress.
A few days ago, the prominent and outspoken woman/human rights activist, Shadi Sadr, who is now forced to exile, stirred a controversy by suggesting that the source of violence and discrimination against Iranian women is not just the government, but a patriarchic culture that permits and promotes men making suggestive sexual jokes with random females (something like the Italian wink!)
I was one of the adamant opponents of her article: (A prick to men) یک سوزن به آقایان ; in fact I suggested (in a private conversation) that Shadi Sadr has made an ass of herself to say such outlandish things, condemning all Iranian men, many of whom are decent and dignified men. But, I was apparently wrong.
First, I realized that she had in fact stirred a lot of guilt and self-questioning in many men who are not as decent and as dignified as my father, brother and husband have been. I realized that a few men whom I respected, who are women activists themselves, acknowledged (with guilt) that they too have made such passes--a manifestation of their masculinity. (I don't necessarily think flirtation is bad, and this is why I disagreed with blanket statements of Sadr. In general, I disagree with a lot of feminism according to which women are to be saved from sexual objectification, with total disregard for how women have used and continue to use their sexuality as a power leverage, especially in Iran).
Second, I came to admit that my disagreement with feminists stems from the particular privileged status that I have enjoyed as a woman in Iran, thanks to growing up with two stubborn as mule grandmothers, a feminist mother, an extraordinary father--who hates sports and war and cries if a tree dies, and marrying an extraordinary man who guards my freedom to be a woman, even to his own disadvantage. To be honest, having pro-women-right men supporting me is why I do not have the same bitter sense of discrimination. Also, I left Iran when I was young, and perhaps too young to suffer the tangible consequences of discrimination. Yes, women of upper echelons of education, wealth and heritage enjoy relative degrees of matriarchy at home, but it is unfair of me to deny how vulnerable they can still be. (Somehow, the situation of IRanian women reminds me of Fassbinder's BDR Trilogy).
However, the current system of laws is established by legislators of lower status. And to be fair, men are not necessarily saints, and many have silently enjoyed some of the backward post-revolutionary legislations. The Iranian revolution of 1979 made it disadvantageous to belong to the elite; anyone with elitist links or inclinations (whether financial or cultural) was put aside 30 years ago. I knew gigolos, with a picture of Googoosh and Hayede in their bedroom who suddenly turned into pseudo-mollahs, sporting a half beard, forcing their wives to take the backseat of the car and having their 5-year old son sit in front (a process that reversed as soon as the man was retired and the wife became the primary bread-earner!).
What is happening today is a return of the same anti-elitist phenomenon. In other words, Ahmadinejad has begun a war of the classes to reap his own (seriously dubious, as far as national interests go) benefits from. Just as some of the early Islamic fanatics had begun to climb up the ladder of culture and wealth, a new revolution erupted (in the form of a post-presidential coup d'etat). Today, a large group of those neo-elites, founders of the IRI, are in jail.
As Mehdi Jami brilliantly points out: there is a new push for making urbanism and modernity disadvantageous and removing people, physically and psychologically, from a city mentality. He suggests, as an example, the recent Police Maneuver: During this Police show-of-force, the last-year protests were enacted mockingly. Men were cross-dressed in green; wore strong makeup and blond wigs, carried some of the Green slogans together with nonsensical ones such as "we want holidays from Friday to Thursday" [this is really ironic since Ahmadinejad's government is the one to announce random holidays, provoking the economists' outcry that the country CANNOT AFFORD to shut down because Ahmadinejad thinks it's too warm or fears protests in Tehran and wants people to picnic outside the city!] In this show, these cross-dressing men in green outfit were arrested by the riot police and by the plain-clothes baton-waving 'basijis' who were dressed in 'more manly' outfits--thus making official the participation of non-uniformed individuals in the so called security enforcement.
If you know Iran's social and traditional makeup you would know that no self-respecting average Iranian man would agree to cross-dress (unless if homosexual). Therefore, the showmen are not the so-assumed religious supporters of the regime! After all, it is a patriarchic culture--where cross-dressers risk their lives. But, in this patriarchic culture, exists a type of men called "laat" (لات). Laat refers to a man, who is unemployed, who harasses women, who dresses up like a rock star who itches for fights, and is poor. This seemingly macho man often suffers inferiority complexes due to his lower socioeconomic status; and his behavior is often a hybrid between masculine and feminine. Perhaps, they can be characterized as a rebel without a cause--but not middle-class, nor necessarily teenager. These individuals often have a criminal record (be it a street fight, a little drug deal, a sexual indiscretion, petty theft) and thus prime candidates to carry assignments that normal individuals will not (e.g. cross dressing for a police show). As Jami point, it seems Ahmadinejad's power today is consolidated in this sector. Because this type is ruthless, the average Iranian (especially if women) avoids them; thus emptying the scene for Ahmadinejad's full force fascism.
Putting all these stories together (the family law, the indecent proposal of the judge, the police mockery of Iran's urban women--the Green supporters) makes me realize that the Ahmadinejadist vendetta against the Iranian women and their participation in public sphere is serious. One should not be fooled by his media tricks such as appointing a female to his cabinet, or dragging numerous unidentifiable women to fill the empty chair of UN during his ridiculous speech. There is an active plan to make it undesirable for women to work.
I was for long of the opinion that the Islamic Republic provided opportunity for the religious women of more traditional families to join men in economic, educational and professional developments. However, this new wave of Islamism does not even tolerate such participation. When my friend who has just ran away from Iran tells me that if she were sexually harassed, she would never go to the police because god knows how many of these law-enforces would have gang-raped her (and gotten away with it, or had her stoned for infidelity!) then I know that a SERIOUS threat is lurking over women's head: they are intent on making it so unpleasant for women to be 'out', that they will "democratically" choose to stay home ...
So, this is my official announcement: "I am joining the women campaign as of today!"
P.S. I personally think that the Iranian Social Movement should start targeting the judiciary system ... it is in TOTAL ruins ... before fighting the government and the legislator about passing some laws, we should fight the judiciary and hold them accountable to withholding the existing articles of law. Else, the citizens will take the justice in their own hand, leading to an inevitable civil war.