Iran’s Crackdown on Women

IRAN-WOMEN-DEMORecently, Majlis (Iranian parliament), which is dominated by hardliners, has voted to ban vasectomies, permanent kinds of contraception, and impose restriction on women’s fertility. In addition, the bill bans advertisements aimed at promoting birth control. Any doctor, or woman, who violates the ban will be punished and prosecuted according to the new Islamist bill.

Since its establishment, the Islamic Republic has significantly exercised “biopower” (a term coined by the historian Michel Foucault) in order to control the population and particularly subjugate women to achieve the regime’s Islamist, religious, ideological, political, and economic objectives. According to Foucault, biopower is defined in The History of Sexuality as “an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations.”

Under the new Islamist state, the Ayatollahs and ruling clerics utilized methods in order to control and exercise power over women to gradually take away their capacity to act in social affairs particularly by regulating their day to day activities, monitoring all their actions, as well as by having authority over their bodies.

For example, dress codes including (scarves, chador, etc) were imposed on women. Women could not wear what they desired out of the home. Women were encouraged to cover their bodies and dress more conservatively. And those who did not comply were laid off from work, fined, lashed, arrested, imprisoned, and attacked.

In addition, women’s bodies were predominantly defined by the Islamic Republic as a platform for satisfying their spouses. Women were banned from playing several sports.  Instead, being a housewife and submissive was encouraged. The control of women’s bodies and their day-to-day activities were used as a formidable venue to subjugate, dehumanize, and sway women’s capacity in life.

On the other hand, what are the underlying reasons for the new restriction on women’s fertility under the Islamic law of Iran?

The fundamental reasons are political, ideological and religion-driven. The whole process of passing a bill to impose restriction on women’s fertility began by one man’s plan: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  The Supreme Leader has the final say as well as the power to delineate general policies for the entire country after consultation with the Nation’s Exigency Council, according to article 110 of the Islamic Republic.

The Supreme Leader decided that he wanted the population of his country to increase from 75 million people to 150 million. Khamenei’s new doctrine was read out to the nationwide conference in the city of Qum, pointing out that “I believe that our country is not a country of 75 million people, our country [could be] a country of 150 million people… and even more… a young image is an essential and important issue for the country, and the countries which have faced aging population have overcome the issue in a difficult way. ”

The message added, “We always wonder how life is going to be if we have four or five children; we should also think that if we have four or five children and if they are able to find jobs they will contribute to the development of the country.”  In addition, the Supreme Leader introduced a 14-point plan to increase the population.

The Iranian regime carried out the same policy in the 1980s, encouraging larger families and more children during the Iran-Iraq war. Iran’s population reached its peak during that time.

On the other hand, the new Islamist bill is aimed at pushing women in the Islamic Republic to be housewives and take traditional roles as mothers rather than participate in public political and social affairs. Currently, large numbers of Iranian women are highly educated and seeking more public functions in the society.

Across the country, billboards that promote less children have been replaced by mottos such as “A single blossom is not spring” and “More children, better lives.” The Supreme Leader states rhetorically that doubling the number of the population will “strengthen national identity” as well as counter “undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles.”

Nevertheless, politically speaking, the population of a country can be regarded as a defining character for the political strength of that government. The new bill will purportedly double the population of Shia Muslims, providing further manpower for the Islamic Republic and strengthening its political influence, national security.  The Iranian regime will be able to have mandatory military service and hire a considerable amount of young people in its army and militia groups such as Basij by offering them incentives such as educational fellowships, loans, etc.  From the Ayatollahs and ruling political figures in the Islamic Republic, this move will ensure their hold on power in the future.

However, many policies have unintended consequences as well.  This restriction on women might have a backlash. It is questionable whether educated Iranian women will accept going back and being confined in homes as mothers and housewives. Secondly, the increase in population might lead to a larger discontent and disaffected population, which would pose greater risks in the future in case protests against the Iranian regime erupt, as they did in 2009. Controlling a larger dissatisfied population poses more challenges.

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  • Hashman

    Mr Rafizadeh points to the Iranian regime as “dehumanizing” women, but then later without any explanation points to the “educated Iranian women” – as if educated women magically appear out of the ground and the regime didn’t see it coming.
    The truth of the fact is that, the Iranian regime (unlike most states in the region with good western ties) right from the get-go provided equal opportunity to men and women in attaining free higher education, the right to vote and drive an automobile. It was they who created an environment in which women could flourish by stamping out the century-old cultural male excuses for intimidating women into not leaving the house, and paved the way for many women to become lead engineers and scientists – and for one to become the first female winner of the maths Fields medal.
    Just taking a look at the picture links surrounding this article – I think Mr Rafizadeh needs to lookup the definition of dehumanization.

    • Mike

      If you read the article well, you will understand. There are some unintended consequences of these theocratic regime policies.

      • Hashman

        The theocratic regime policy of granting women equal rights to vote and access to free higher education?

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      It’s interesting how you ignore the persecution of women in Iran — particularly WRT an enforced dress code. Why aren’t men required to wear head bags again?

      • Hashman

        I don’t ignore it. I think its wrong. And removing the law has come up in Iran’s parliament in the past. And hopefully it will be removed some day.
        My point was that compared to other countries in that region, Iran has given much more rights to women. Equal access to free higher education (which was a *real* empowerment of women) and the right to vote – none of which are granted in Saudi Arabia (a US ally).

  • Keith Patton

    An overpopulated nation of poverty stricken illiterate savages is much easier to control than what they currently have in Iran. It gives them more cannon fodder as well. The Imams are not stupid.

  • peacepeace

    The Iranian increased population will not pose any problem for the regime in Teheran,but for the west because these Iranian will eventualy be welcome with both hands in America.

  • swemson

    “The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.”

    Sir Winston Churchill; “The River War”, first edition, Volume II, pages 248-250, published by Longmans, Green & Company, 1899


    • Mahdi

      Swemson, In the West women belong to men much more. But since it is a different country, men know how in the West to deceive women. YOu get a sense that you are free. But you are doing what men wants. You wear things to make them erotic, you speak in a way to make them erotic, they order you, etc. You are only sexual object. And if you are woman, just think about when you are in bed, you do everything for him….hahhaha ..this is the West..women are slaves in different modern way…

      • Juan José Rivera Díaz

        Secularism and Islamism are two faces of the same coin.

        • IslamDownpressesHumanity

          No they’re not. One wants to enslave everyone to the ideals espoused by a holey 7th century madman — regardless of whether they want to be so enslaved or not.
          Islamic states are all totalitarian, theocratic dystopias.

      • stringman

        So it is better that women should be forced by sharia law to do a man’s bidding and be a possession instead of having free choice, even if her choice is to be submissive and subservient? That is the difference you Muslim wacko. Hahaha you wouldn’t know modern if it crawled up you anus because you’re living in the 7th century.

  • Hard Little Machine

    We can only hope that Iran, which has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, implodes and the run out of people.

  • Mahdi

    For some reasons the editor keeps deleting my comment: I will try other way.

    Islamic countries are much better than the US where women are only
    objects for others’ pleasure. Men have turn them into such objects to satisfy their desires and women like it in the
    US. Men taught them that “show legs, body, do this, etc” is good. “good girl”. And women so stupi*** , follow what they are told.

    • wileyvet

      You come across as though Muslim men are so pious and respectful of women. That is why Muslims rape women more than any other culture in the world. And in your demented unaccountable belief system, it is the woman who is guilty and deserving of punishment, not the filthy animal who violates her. It was your prophet’s habit of taking for himself any woman he wished as a sex slave, and so you emulate that pig. Your sense of morality is entirely inverted due to the teachings of Muhammad and his perverted desires, which he always managed to supply a new Koranic verse to justify his abominable behaviour. If you actually study the Koran you would see that how much of it is dedicated to Muhammad himself for specific personal benefit and has nothing to do or no relevance for anyone else, then or now. The Koran is nothing more than Muhammad’s get out of jail free card. And because Muhammad acted this way, so do Muslim men of today. You get your guidance from a warlord with no scruples. Lying, cheating, stealing, raiding and robbing, slaving, murdering and assassinations are all OK with you but questioning Mo or Islam is forbidden and sinful. Beating your wives is OK, but allowing women to be their own person is not. Your faith is not deserving of any respect or tolerance, which is why the history of Islam is so violent, that it must be spread or held by threats and death.

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      I seem to remember an Iranian muslimah killing a man who was attempting to rape her and being arrested, convicted and sentenced to die for doing so. This despite the fact there was another female witness to the attempted rape (who might have been her cousin). Why don’t you jump down the well and have a confab w/your mahdi face-to-face?

    • spacechive

      Women are not taught, here that their bodies are shameful or dirty. Men with self control and respect KEEP THEIR HANDS OFF!!

      • PatnTrucks

        Absolutely! Mr. Spacechive – men are raised to be gentlemen first and foremost in the USA by WOMEN who love and care for them and teach them well. We have No fear to go outside and feel the sun and wind on our faces and in our hair, or on bare feet and legs either.
        Islam = drivel by a murdering barbarian who just wanted what other people worked hard to earn. Easy money = kill people and take their belongings. How utter a sad-sack of shit that islam is.

  • UCSPanther

    Right. And forcing our womenfolk to wear beekeeper suits is so great and liberating.

    You will be forced to respect our culture, and if we have to do that the hard way, then so be it…

  • wileyvet

    The reason Islamic countries have pathetic culture and economies is precisely because you have zero respect or appreciation for the immense talents of women, and their contribution to society. Beyond being baby makers for ignorant Muslim men. Your wretched Islam prohibits women from exploring and achieving their individual desires and using their unique talents. So many women in the west have made this world what it is, from writers, actresses, dancers, community leaders, politicians, doctors, lawyers and in thousands of other fields, to the benefit of all. Your culture will always be a miserable failure for these very reasons.

    • PatnTrucks

      God Bless you Mr. Wileyvet from another old ‘Nam era vet!

  • Softly Bob

    You’re a deluded clown like most Muslims. I suggest you post your tripe elsewhere.

  • Softly Bob

    Listen Ali Baba, take your Satan-worshiping claptrap elsewhere.

  • Moa

    In the West women have CHOICE as to what they want to be.

    This is the real problem with Islam and all totalitarian idelogies, it takes away CHOICE. If you want to be a superstitious muppet who will become an apostate if you don’t believe that the “Sun settles in the West in a muddy pool” (apparently Allah didn’t know about orbital mechanics) then that is up to you, but removing the CHOICE from others not to believe is wrong and evil – especially if you discriminate against them as dhimmis or even kill them for rejecting such nonsense.

    Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the “Mahdi” is known as the “Anti-Christ” to the West, and is supposed to be the most evil man in all of history (eclipsing even the disgusting Mohammed for babarity). So, your signature doesn’t win you any points, quite the opposite.

    • PatnTrucks

      Thank you Brother Moa! Oh, and when a donkey brays – according to the Pedophile Prophet….he sees a demon. Well, that is really all the science that the koran can muster!

  • Ellen_L

    That is one of the silliest ideas ever. In general a secular culture is one that has no one established religion not one that outlaws religion but opens it to individual choice. Islamism forces a radical version of Islam on everyone. It is true that some folks have gone too far in reaction to having religion foisted on them for so long but the answer is more freedom for everyone not forcing one religion on everyone.

    • Norbert Haag

      can you show me the non radical version of Islam?

    • Juan José Rivera Díaz

      Really? In the secular world, a woman is a mere sex object, used to sell anything. Pornography is seen as “empowering of women”, when in reality, they become sex salves. In Islam, is the same: women are property, sex objects. But many muslim women “think” burkas and niqabs are “their choice” and are “empowered”. Same shit.

      • IslamDownpressesHumanity

        In the secular world no woman has to be a sex object if she doesn’t want to. She can put on a burka or wear Victorian style clothing and it will all be entirely legal for her to do so.

        • Juan José Rivera Díaz

          It’s not about what’s “Legal”, it’s about what’s the “trend”, the “fashion”, the role models presented in TV. Chastity, modesty, are vilified in secular media.
          Sexual disorders are presented as virtues, ways of “freedom”. In Islam a woman is the husband’s/owners’s property, for his own appetites and desires. In secularism, a woman is everybody’s sex object. For every man appetites and desires. Take a look at your own american tv shows and tell me if I’m lying.

          • IslamDownpressesHumanity

            Since when is television real life? If I find something on television offensive (e.g. islamic propaganda, Israel bashing) I just change channels or turn the TV off.

          • nerokaereborn

            mind me an example? if the women decided to be everyone sex subject then so be it. She is just a slut or attention whore. It on her own record.

            In 1st world, a married women doesn’t belong to her husband. If her husband mistreat her, he could be charged for it.

            Why the heck you arab always try to rule the female?

            FYI I came from so called moslem country, living now freely in europe.

            islam is worst thing in this world

      • PatnTrucks

        Oh Barf! Those are paid models on tv and that is called marketing. No one forces anyone to do commercials. I am a woman and have nothing to do with porn, or marketing and I could care less as they are doing what they want to do or not to do. Their choice. Because mohammandans beat women until they are forced to hide under the black gag bags of burkas is pathetic, then in many countries of barbarism they cannot drive, show their faces, have to have a male relative with them (Good Lord that is awful) no freedom just to go to the store to buy a gallon of tea. I’ll wear my jeans and ride my horse and fire my rifle from the saddle. Then drive my truck to the barn, dust off my boots and kick the koran around the pigsty.
        What a great day!

    • Drakken

      There isn’t any such thing as a tame islam, there is only islam and where ever islam goes, the blood always flows, without exception. You cannot make peace with these savages and your going to learn this the hard way for if you haven’t learned anything by now, there is no help for people of your wishful thinking ilk.

  • Ellen_L

    The Iranian ideas are weirdly like those of the Nazis. The name Iran came from their notion of Aryan to replace the older Persian one. Had the Nazis survived these two would have fought it out to see who ruled. We would do well to recall they were allies.

  • Norbert Haag

    And you are an uneducated dumb bag.

  • PatnTrucks

    Hooray, well said! I am an independent woman – a widow – and a military veteran and under islam – what would I be? Sitting and begging on the side of the road, bludgeoned, as I have no male relative? Like in Afghanistan under the Tali-Ban? Nah. No thanks. I’ll fight to my dying breath for NO ISLAM! EVER!! WOMEN VETS UNITE!

  • PatnTrucks

    What drivel – what you think about us Western FREE & happy women is of no importance. I am a military veteran. I can make my own decisions, dress the way I wish and visit anyone I wish when I wish to do so. I drive my OWN TRUCK. No thanks for the barbarism of islam and the putrid dress code subjected upon those pathetic musleemas having to hide beneath, being forced to wear a black gag bag of islam or be beaten black and blue by those ‘religious police’ for transgressions of dress.
    Well, honey, just try that here in the US, we have SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
    Yes, imagine women who love to shoot!
    So, for barbarians such as islam has……BANG!
    Tell me what to wear?
    Tell me I can’t drive?
    Tell me I have to have a male relative ‘escort’ me?
    Are you kidding? Tell me I can’t ride a horse, or drive a tractor? Guess again.
    Maybe you bunch of losers haven’t been raised well by your mama musleenas. Never taught to behave yourself like a gentleman? Manners? Probably not even basic table manners either. Your pedophile prophet certainly was no gentleman, mainly he was imaginary, as is allah, and that murdering koran– glued together over 27 years — hypes the pathetic practice of islam made up by men who wanted to steal others property, wealth and then kill them.
    It’s called murder.
    Put the nijab/burka gag bag on yourself.
    Go away.

  • PatnTrucks

    Excellent Mr. Stringman! Thank God and the USofA for our freedom! This mohammadan doof is so out of touch with reality he coudlnt’ find his muslim butt with both hands, but we have come to expect as much from mohammadans who beat women into wearing those black gag bags.

    • stringman

      Well put! I just can’t fathom what makes those barbarians tick. We humans make a lot of bad choices but how can it be better to have no choice.

  • PatnTrucks

    Oh good grief – Young fellow – you have no clue what we women here in the US do. Not a DAMN clue. I’m a woman and I do just fine as do all of my women friends.
    The men are gentlemen in the US and behave as such. Their mothers and fathers taught them manners at an early age – the first rule little boys learn is “YOU NEVER HIT A GIRL.” Per the koran suri 4:34 on wife beating – how barbaric. Which is islam = barbarianism. Oh and the rule about, ‘You without sin, caste the first stone.” You stone women. islam is a travesty against nature and life.
    I’ve only had nothing but good in all the cities, towns and counties in which I’ve lived over the years.
    Islamic countries good for women?
    Yes, it must be the beatings — that musleemas have to hide in those burka / nijab black gag bags or be beaten or raped. Pathetic state of affairs for you and your so-called religion.
    I wouldn’t wish islam on a dead pig or a dead dog.
    I praise GOD and JESUS CHRIST that each and every day I live in the USA!
    Go away ignorant muslim person.

  • PatnTrucks

    I dont’ think so. We are getting wise to this.

  • PatnTrucks

    Exactly! Ever seen film footages on YouTube with those little dirty trucks loaded with scruffy old men and dirty burka clad old-hags in black – sitting on planks in the back? They drive around those 3rd world islam cess-pools looking for women who are ‘not conforming in the dress code d’barbarian’ and they get out and whip her, landing blows all over her. I was appalled. That is a travesty.
    If anyone tried that in the USA with some of us women, they would have holes punched in their dirty burkas and baggy old pants.
    Thank God we have only a populaiton of .6% of one percent mohammadan. I pray we keep it low – and to do this – I send many comments to my Senator and Congressman about muslim immigration = sedition.

    • Hashman

      Judging from the venom in your comments I’m sure you send lots of rambling comments to your senator.
      The fact that the first woman in the world to win a Fields medal in mathematics came out of the cess-pool you refer to, and not from among your “free” women, should be something for the woman of the USA to take shame in, not pride.
      But what can you expect from a society where girls are taught that doing well in school makes them unattractive – and that it is better to spend their lives chasing dates, watching sitcoms and spewing hateful comments on web forums.

  • Jim Fox


    So this is how you”respect” women??

    “Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals with you and do not possess anything for themselves.” From Muhammad’s ‘Farewell Sermon’.