(Radio Zamaaneh) | March 6, 2010

Zahra Rahnavard issued a statement today, condemning “backward” laws that discriminate against women in the Islamic Republic.

In her statement, which was published today at the threshold of the International Women’s Day, in the Kalemeh website connected with the opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, she declared that the “family protection” bill is based on “hedonism” and will destroy the family unit.

Rahnavard added that the bill was “discriminatory and anti-woman” and the direct product of the Islamic Republic’s “dominant culture and made-up laws.”

Articles 23 and 25 of the “family protection” bill, which was prepared two years ago and is now under review at the parliament, have aroused great controversy in Iran.

According to article 23 of the bill, men are allowed to marry several women concurrently without obtaining the approval of their first wife so long as they obtain a legal permit by showing financial means.

Article 25 maintains that the prenuptial sum agreed upon to be paid to the wife in case of a divorce, referred to as mehrieh in Iran, is subject to government taxing.

These two articles were previously omitted from the bill under pressure from women’s rights activists, but were recently reintroduced back into the bill by the Cultural Commission of the parliament.

Zahra Rahnavard also condemns “inequality of men and women and laws pertaining to divorce and citizenship” as examples of “backward and discriminatory” laws against women.

She writes: “I am certain that the liberated men of our country are also pained and ashamed by this discrimination.”

Zahra Rahnavard also addresses the continued arrest of women’s rights activists who have been repeatedly detained for trying to defend their rights by participating in gatherings and for their media activities. She writes: “The reputation and legitimacy of a system is tied with the respect is dons on its people and their demands, especially the level of its respect for its women.”

Rahnavard urges the Islamic Republic to respect women and their demands, and also expresses great hope that the Green Movement would take giant steps toward eliminating discrimination against women.