ISSN 2330-717X

Iran’s New Women And Family Affairs Director To Reinforce Inequality – OpEd

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Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian regime’s new president, nominated notorious Ensieh KhazAli as the director of Women and Family Affairs on September 2, becoming the 13th government’s Women and Family Affairs Director. 

Despite this, the prior directors of the directorate have frequently stated that they lacked executive authority and that even a minor defence of women’s rights would be futile in the mullahs’ patriarchal system. Before KhazAli, the previous leader, Massoumeh Ebtekar, confessed in August 2021 that “there is a sense of discrimination against women due to some approaches to the law, and the existing biases have made this task difficult,” according to the state-run ISNA news agency. 

In a government known for its repressive methods and mass murders, Ensieh KhazAli is the director of Women and Family Affairs. 

Despite being the only woman in Raisi’s government tasked with defending women’s rights, she is linked with and supports the regime’s most misogynistic group.  She admits that she has not been independent even in her private life despite her education and background. 

Ensieh KhazAli, the government’s sole spokesperson for women’s rights is infamous for her repressive policies, and advocates for girls’ early marriage. According to Persian Independent, she stated in a June 2017 interview that she married at the age of 16 and that her children did as well. 

“People don’t have children because they want to be comfortable.” They don’t want to give up their comfort for the sake of others, and they perceive children as an obstacle to their goals.”  Ensieh KhazAli, speaking at a seminar in June 2015, said, “We must promote this belief that getting married brings happiness to families.” 

Under the guise of population increase, Ensieh KhazAli also supports women’s marginalisation. “Having children has decreased due to indolence; because people do not want to sacrifice themselves and make time for others,” she remarked at a conference titled “Family Sustainability, the Excellence of Society” held in 2015 at Az-Zahra University. 

“Men should be able to afford the dowry; the simpler life is, the closer couples are,” she stated at the same conference, defending the “interests of men” on the issue of dowry. 

KhazAli was the president of Az-Zahra University in Iran, which was the country’s first completely segregated university. She implemented the Moral Charter at the university, and according to the state-run farhangemrooz.com. In Iranian universities, the charter serves as the foundation for the repression of female students by university security under moral pretexts. 

Ensieh KhazAli evicted Atena Farghadani, a political activist who was condemned to prison for drawing cartoons that insulted the religious regime’s authorities and members of the mullahs’ parliament. 

In response to her insult and dismissal from Az-Zahra University, political prisoner Atena Farghadani, a gifted student with a grade point average of 19.78 [from 20] and the highest ranking in the field of art, created a cartoon. “In response to insulting and humiliating me by expulsion from the university, the only good gift I could give you was to design something that had been dormant inside you for years!” she responded to KhazAli.

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Hamid Enayat

Hamid Enayat is an Iranian human rights activist and analyst based in Europe.

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