Fourteen Iranian women pen open letter to government calling for equal rights

The activists are requesting that others join them in peaceful and non-violent protests to construct a new constitution to eradicate "this anti-women system."

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August 12, 2019 04:36
2 minute read.
Veiled women walk past a billboard urging women to wear a hijab in Raqqa(REUTERS/Stringer)

Veiled women walk past a billboard urging women to wear a hijab in Raqqa(REUTERS/Stringer). (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Fourteen Iranian women's rights activists penned an open letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requesting that he resign from his position after his 20-year tenure. They wrote that the country needs to undergo political change.

According to a report by Radio Farda, the letter, dated August 5, refers to "gender apartheid" and a "patriarchal approach" that for 40 years has stifled the Iranian political climate. They said that since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the situation in Iran has created an unfair disadvantage for women who want to live and thrive in the country.

"We, 14 civil rights and women's rights activists, are determined to continue our combat until victory through civil and non-violent measures," they wrote. "Like other pioneers [of non-violent freedom fighters], we go ahead by chanting 'no to the Islamic Republic.'

"Four decades of this theocracy has eliminated the rights of half of the country's," they continued.

The activists are requesting that others join them in peaceful and non-violent protests to construct a new constitution to eradicate "this anti-women system."

All of the signatories reside within the Islamic Republic, opening them up to potential political persecution or arrest. In fact, two of the signatories have already been arrested by Iranian authorities, though the authorities have not yet responded directly to the letter.

"In a world that women in most countries move side by side with men in science, economy, culture, arts, and politics, under the Islamic Republic women still fight for their basic human rights," the women wrote.

The letter also claimed that "systemic tyranny and irresponsibility" are the main reasons why the country is in the state it is today, with domestic protests and international politics chaotically spinning out of control before the country's very own eyes.

They said there is an inability for Iranian women to attend sporting events with their male peers, a ban that Saudi Arabia itself lifted recently, and explained that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) advocated against this practice to allow women to enter the stadiums and reportedly issued a deadline to the Iranian government by which it had to change its rules.

"Giti Pourfazel, an attorney, who is one of the signatories in Iran told Radio Farda in an interview on Tuesday that fourteen women have signed the letter and “Twenty million other Iranian women could count themselves as the fifteenth signatory," according to the report.


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