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Iran’s Leader says feminism is ‘Zionist plot’
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a meeting of religious speakers that Iranians should resist feminist ideas and instead hold the Prophet Mohamed’s daughter Fatimah as their ideal.
“Making women a commodity and an object of gratification in the Western world is most likely among Zionist plots aiming to destroy the society,” he said, according to a translation on the Shia Muslim leader’s official website.
“Today, Western thinkers and those who pursue issues such as gender equality regret the corruption which it has brought about.”
Khamenei claimed that men and women are equal in the “ascendance of spiritual positions, the power of leadership, and the capability to lead humankind”, but that some tasks for women “collapse and humiliate” their primary roles as housewives and mothers.
A report by the government-controlled Mehr news agency said the Supreme Leader “expressed hope that views of those who raised similar [gender equality] issues inside Iran were not based on the Western misconception”.
Iranian women are heavily restricted in their personal and public lives, including with state-enforced dress codes, curbs on higher education courses, jobs and sporting activities open to them, and freedom of movement under controls requiring a husband’s signature to leave the country.
Many have been rallying round movements like My Stealthy Freedom, which combats the compulsory hijab, but women found to have broken “morality” laws have been arrested and forced into public apologies.
Among them are women detained for breaking a fatwa issued by Khamenei to ban women cycling in public – claiming it “attracts the attention of men and…contravenes women’s chastity” – as well as others arrested for posting “vulgar” photos without headscarves on Instagram.