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Iranian Women And Others At Risk

Iranian authorities have launched another crackdown on women wearing winter clothing deemed un-Islamic. According to Tehran police chief Ahmad Reza Radan, that includes “tight trousers tucked inside long boots.”

The crackdown on winter clothing follows a campaign by the government in the spring and summer targeting women who wore short coats or showed too much hair beneath their head-scarves. Tens of thousands of Iranian women were accosted on the streets; some were beaten and arrested. Hundreds of thousands were given warnings; thousands were made to attend classes on the need to comply with government standards.

In addition to being targeted for their dress, Iranian women are also threatened when they campaign for equal rights. The one million signatures campaign is a drive to collect signatures on a petition to demand equal rights. Several of its members have been beaten, harassed, and imprisoned.

The crackdown on women’s dress and women’s rights activists comes at the same time that the Iranian government is cracking down on the freedoms of expression and conscience, singling out journalists, students, union leaders, and dissident clerics.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on the difficulties faced by the Iranian people:

“They still suffer from the fact that they are not able to freely express their legitimate opinion in a peaceful manner. . . .Rights that are commonplace around the world are regularly trampled upon by this Iranian government. You can see in a variety of different ways some of the discontent of the Iranian people with this situation.”

In a written statement, Mr. McCormack said the United States “calls on the Iranian government to improve its human rights situation before more Iranians suffer for attempting to exercise their universal rights and freedoms.”