I think the amount of human rights violations in the case of women, if I don’t say thousand times, it’s hundred times more than ordinary male citizens in Iran. I went to school in Iran. Nobody ever searched my bag before getting to school; that’s what they do, in the very, very humiliating way, up to these days, with millions of Iranian girls – every day in the school being searched, even the clothes and underwear being searched, not to bring any piece of cosmetics. Iran is a hot climate. Imagine right now in Tehran with something like 40, 45 centigrade, women have to cover themselves with the very thick black [material] – just to give you practical examples.
I’m not talking about big ideas. They are really suffering under that. And they are under pressure, like many other women in the region, because of employment, you know, being part of the job market, difficult economic time. And they are being questioned by government agents; last year they announced, just in the Tehran there were 370,000 arrests of women because of not paying attention to Islamic dress code.
If you imagine about 370,000 individuals who have been, you know, some sort of kidnapped from the street, brought to some facility, their name being registered – this is something more dramatic than the Third Reich. So women are being seen in Iran as the Jewish population of Nazi Germany; they are being considered as the main, prime enemy and suspect in this country because they are just asking for their rights.
They want to have equal rights and, you know, in the eyes of the law they want to be seen like men. So I think the future of Iran is really in the hands of women. I think they’re motivation for coming to the streets, as you have seen on your TV screens, was much higher than men.
And let’s not forget, in a country in the Middle East, if one girl comes into the street – and you can see that on the TV – this particular one girl will bring thousands of men who feel very humiliated sitting at home and watching this footage that their sister on the street is being beaten by the government agents, and they are sitting at home and watching. So, I think, either this way or that way, the future of Iran is in the hand of women.
If you just compare, for example, Mr. [Mir-Hossein] Mousavi’s discourse; like, one of the candidates which is right now under house arrest. You see, his wife, Mrs. [Zahra] Rahnavard, is much more radical and much more pro-reform, even in comparison with Mr. Mousavi, who was kind of radical in his own agenda. There is in their election campaign’s video, you can see that when Mr. Mousavi says, “Yeah, we want a democratic Iran for men and women,” his wife just stops him and says, “Wait, wait, wait, no, the situation is not the same; wait where you go.”
Women have a huge, huge problem here in this country; and you have to concentrate, you have to focus. You cannot give us this hope of okay, after everything will be democratic, women and men will be the same. No, you have to start right now. If you see the house of Mr. Mousavi and people who are close to the current of power when there is such a, you know, huge pressure from the women all along the political spectrum, then you can see how the system is under pressure to change the situation.