NEW YORK, November 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
In his latest TV broadcast to the nation last week, President Hassan Rouhani said that he keeps receiving emails from many Iranians who ask him "why he has so quickly forgotten about his election promises".
"I have not forgotten my promises", said Rouhani. "But my government does have priorities and we work to achieve them in turns".
The Centre for a Democratic Iran, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote and pursue an independent, peaceful and democratic Iran, followed these events with great interest. CDI Founder, Behrooz Behbudi, offered his thoughts on the broadcast:
Rouhani's comments are really rich for a President who owes his position to the vote of the people who very clearly told him what his priorities must be when they elected him.
According to the Iranian regime's own figures, the majority of those who voted for Rouhani in 2013 were women, attracted to his pledge that once in office he would remove the stifling social restrictions on them.
"Our women deserve the same dignity, integrity and honour as men. Women should have equal opportunity and equal social rights. Is it even possible to marginalize half of the members of society?" Rouhani had said in one election rally.
Gender discrimination is the hallmark of the Islamic republic. Iranian women have been a thorn in the side of this backward regime since its inception three decades ago, as their demands for equality, justice and individual liberties are the essence of Iran's democracy movement.
The contribution of the Iranian women to this movement can undoubtedly bring about major social changes to Iran.
The Iranian women were effectively the leaders of the Green Movement uprisings of 2009 in the country by offering the lives of hundreds of their beloved children to the cause of democracy and human rights for Iran.
Captured on video, the bloody death of the 26-year-old Neda Agha Soltan at the hands of security forces during those uprisings circulated around the world and caused international outrage and showed how Iranian women are the vanguard of struggle for freedom and human rights in our country.
As such, the regime has chosen the imposition of Islamic hejab cover as the most symbolic pretext for suppressing the rights of the Iranian woman in every cultural, economic and social field, hoping to extend its authoritarian rule over the wider society through women's obedience.
However, faced with the open defiance of the hejab, the ideologically driven Iranian regime has been pushing for a bill in the parliament to set up an army of vigilantes to freely operate on the streets and arrest women who are deemed as "improperly dressed".
The recent chain of horrific acid attacks on scores of women in the cities of Esfahan and Mashad should be seen in this context as many clerics in these and the other major cities of Iran have been criticising women from their pulpits in recent weeks.
"Cautioning bad hejabi women by words has proved ineffective to force them to wear the cover," ayatollah Tabatabaie, the Friday prayers Imam of Esfahan was quoted by Iranian media as saying last month.
However, faced with public outrage and protest demonstrations across the country Abbas Ali Mansouri, a member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security Commission, has claimed that the acid attacks "are the work of foreign intelligence services".
While Iran's supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei has remained silent on the controversy so far, President Rouhani has reacted to the tragic events by "advising" those behind the attacks not to justify their deeds in the name of Islam.
"A handful of people should not act as the custodians of moral values in our society," Rouhani has been quoted as saying. He has further called for the "harshest possible sentence" for those responsible for the attacks.
"People should be in no doubt that the government is doing everything to arrest those responsible for these crimes," he said. "The most severe punishment awaits them."
In the meantime, Iranian women can only watch and rue how their vote for someone who promised them equality and dignity has been abused instead to prolong the life of a religious dictatorship that knows no boundaries in resorting to the most horrendous ways of imposing its corrupt values on them, this time by throwing acid on their faces.
7 November 2014
SOURCE Centre for a Democratic Iran (CDI)