Iran is a strong male-dominated society – after the 1979 Islamic Revolution more than ever. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of IRN and acronym for Iran. During the Shah’s time, much effort was made to modernize the country; inter alia women’s rights were expanded. The practice of veil was abolished by legislation in 1936, and women were given the right to vote in 1963. The Islamic revolution put an end to these reforms, and women’s freedom is now severely restricted. Thus, e.g. forced to wear a veil was reintroduced. Iran is not only a prominent human society, it is also a distinct class society. After the revolution, however, a certain change in the composition of the upper class has taken place. While many former high-status people left the country, they have been replaced by the highest among the scribes as a new dominant group.
The social insurance system includes sickness, unemployment and pension insurance, which are statutory as well as working hours, holidays and minimum wages. Unemployment is high, 25-30 percent (1992). Trade unions are not allowed; instead, “Islamic committees” are assumed to safeguard the interests of workers.
Health care was greatly expanded during the Shah, but the medical density remained lower than in many neighboring countries. After the Islamic revolution, development work has continued, but the protracted war on Iraq has stalled the development, and the training of doctors has declined since the early 1980s. Almost 2/3 of the hospitals are run by public authorities, but the regional differences in accessibility are significant; Tehran alone accounts for 35 percent of care sites. They have managed to cope with severe diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera, but the health problems are nevertheless large, especially in rural areas, where infant mortality is still high.
Ahmadinejad reiterated in January 2008 that Iran will continue its peaceful use of nuclear energy, pointing to 16 peaceful uses. The year later, he reiterated that Iran has no plans for nuclear weapons development. Notwithstanding the president’s statements, however, his office is responsible for the country’s nuclear program. It is governed by the country’s top National Security Council, which is under the aegis of the spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei. In 2005, Khamenei issued a general fatwa (ban) on nuclear weapons.
In the spring of 2008, the US Department of Defense Pentagon published a report that, based on military intelligence, diminished President Bush’s claim over 2½ years that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. “That’s not the purpose,” the Pentagon concluded. However, the facts did not prevent Bush from continuing and escalating the war rhetoric against the regime in Tehran, and in August the United States assembled a naval force consisting of 10 aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean. The greatest force since the attack on Iraq in 2003.
2009 Re-election of Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June 2009 for a second term as President with 62.6% of the vote. His counterpart, the equally conservative Mir-Hossein Mousavi, to 33.8% of the vote. The election triggered the most widespread protests in Tehran and other major cities since the revolution in 1979. The demonstrations continued for months after the election, increasing in strength following the Guardian Council in late June, acknowledged Ahmadinejad’s election victory. The government and state militias hit hard on the protesters who were arrested, tortured or killed. The government subsequently admitted that 36 had been killed. The opposition talked about double the number.
Twitter and mobile phones became important instruments in organizing the protests, and the government ended up closing the various networks, blocking Internet and satellite TV for periods.
While the Western media rarely reports on protests in the Palestinian territories against the Israeli occupation, and the violent behavior of the occupying forces, there was full focus on the protests in Iran. The Western world supports Israel, regardless of its war crimes and attacks on the Palestinian population, while Iran is being hated. However, both states have in common that they are religiously fundamentalist.
The United States claims that Iran is engaging in an election campaign
The United States is imposing sanctions on five institutions in Iran that are accused of trying to influence the US presidential election on November 3. Among the institutions pointed out are the Revolutionary Guards and its elite unit, the Jerusalem Force (al-Quds), which is already subject to sanctions for other reasons. The day before, Security Chief John Ratcliffe claimed that voters in the United States had received threatening letters that appeared to come from an extreme American right-wing organization that supports incumbent President Donald Trump. US sanctions are also being targeted at Iran’s Baghdad ambassador, who is accused of interfering in Iraq’s affairs, while pro-Iranian groups have jeopardized the security of US personnel in Iraq. Iran is protesting through the Swiss embassy, which represents the United States, and states that the Iranian government has no favorite in the US election.
The UN arms embargo against Iran expires
A UN embargo on arms trade to or from Iran expires in accordance with the international agreement concluded in 2015 on Iran’s nuclear energy program. (The JCPOA agreement between six parties in 2015 was confirmed in a subsequent UN resolution.) The US, which has unilaterally abandoned the agreement and reintroduced its own sanctions against Iran, claims that arms deals with Iran still violate UN resolutions. The United States has also tried in vain to persuade the UN Security Council to extend the embargo indefinitely. The ban covered conventional weapons, and Iran now considers itself free to buy such weapons again. Russian air defenses and Chinese armored vehicles are among the products that could be the subject of business with Iran.
Torture and police abuse are prohibited
Iran’s judiciary publishes a document on the rule of law (in practice a new set of rules) which prohibits torture, forced confessions, solitary confinement, imprisonment without a legal basis and other violations of the rights of criminal defendants. It must also guarantee transparency, establish the principle that an accused is presumed innocent and ensure that foreign nationals have contact with their country’s consular staff. The document is signed by Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, who has been head of the judiciary since 2019 with a mandate to fight corruption within the system and recast it. Iran has repeatedly been criticized for not respecting civil rights (see 12 September). As recently as a week before the document, there have been video recordings on social media where police abuse abused people, who are also forced to apologize for “mistakes”. Raisi has described the actions of the police as abuse.
Travel ban to and from big cities
Travel to and from the cities of Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad, Isfahan and Urmia is banned when new restrictions are introduced to limit covid-19 infection. The ban will initially apply for a few days, but travel by public transport is allowed. This raises questions among citizens who point out that already the prevailing expensive times have made people park their cars and go to the municipality, with the result that the risk of infection has increased on buses, among other places. Nearly 5,000 new cases are confirmed, the highest number since the pandemic reached Iran. Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi agrees that the real numbers are likely to be higher than the official ones.
Fine for lack of face mask
People in Tehran who violate, among other things, orders to wear face masks will be forced to pay fines, President Rohani announces. Tighter regulatory measures are a consequence of the increase in the spread of the sars-cov-2 virus. The basic militia, police and health protection inspectors are given the authority to issue fines. The amounts are low but palpable for Iranians in the circumstances of the reintroduction of US sanctions against the Iranian economy. Iran’s officially confirmed death toll in covid-19 has exceeded 28,000, while almost half a million cases of infection are known.
The United States is increasing pressure on Iran through banks
The United States is imposing sanctions on 18 Iranian banks. This means that banks and financial institutions in other countries will not be able to make money transfers to or from people and companies in Iran through them. Foreign companies that have used the banks concerned have 45 days to complete the transactions. The US Treasury Secretary says that the sanctions policy will continue until Iran “stops its terrorist activities and nuclear programs”, while Iran describes the US policy as “state terrorism”. The US government emphasizes that trade in food and medicine is exempt from the sanctions.
Activist free after UN appeal
Human rights activist Narges Mohammadi is released after his sentence was reduced. When she was arrested in 2015, she campaigned against the death penalty and worked for an organization founded by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Narges Mohammadi suffers from a neurological disease. She has been released since UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Iran to release political prisoners who were not among more than 100,000 detainees who had regained their freedom in the past to avoid the spread of the sars-cov-2 virus. British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was also arrested on unclear grounds, is under house arrest with her parents (see December 22, 2019).
Iran is demanding large damages
Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent with suspected links to the CIA, disappeared during a trip to the island of Kish in southern Iran in 2007. Now a judge in Washington, who considers the disappearance a kidnapping, has decided that Iran must pay $ 1.45 billion to the man’s relatives. Iran denies knowledge of Levinson’s disappearance, while relatives and US authorities believe he died in captivity.
Nasrin Sotoudeh receives the award
Nasrin Sotoudeh is one of the human rights activists awarded the Swedish Right Livelihood Prize 2020. Sotoudeh is imprisoned after defending women who protested against the requirement to wear a headscarf. She became a well-known name in 2009 when she similarly defended people after a controversial presidential election (see March 12, 2019).