Sunday, June 12, 2005

Democracy in Iran?

A Times article relays how hundreds of Iranian women demonstrated in Tehran today against government sexual discrimination. The demonstration was likely able to take place because of a more moderate attitude before polls open in the next presidential election.

Protestors and feminists stated that a candidate interested in promoting womens' rights would have to change the constitution, due to the fact that the rights concerned are determined strictly by Islamic Shariah law. 89 women reportedly ran for president last month, the six member Guardian Council rejected each one.

The protests reflect positive developments in Iran that wouldn't have been possible several years ago. Zahra Eshraghi, the granddaughter of the Islamic revolution's leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, agreed that many rights involving the womens' movement are sanctioned by law, but things are gradually improving.

Much scepticism is placed in current reform candidates. Feminist leaders are concerned that such candidates are simply campaigning for votes, without intent to change the law. This is likely, but the fact that politicians are paying attention to womens' issues is a progressive step. Though the problem of women's rights needs a deeper revolution than in the political sphere; social and religious revolution is perhaps more important.

But with vocalisation and organization, there is hope.

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