The regime of the ayatollahs is known for its misogynist ideology, policies and laws against Iranian women. It did not take long after the first few days of the revolution for the regime to start systematically violating women’s rights. The first round of such policies was the obligatory hijab for women.
To ensure that women obey the obligatory hijab and the laws of the theocratic government, the regime mobilized several groups of repressive forces to the streets, set up units in schools, universities, and government and private offices tasked with controlling women and girls, and by granting special privileges to men, forced women to obey the laws that stifled their basic rights.
Throughout the past forty-three years, the Iranian regime has worked tirelessly to expand misogynist laws in a variety of forms, spreading a culture of “zeal” and supremacy among men. It has allocated large amounts of funds and resources to control Iranian women and violate their rights. The regime’s anti-women policies have stifled women, both socially and economically. The common denominator of these barbaric policies against women is an attempt to force them to believe that they are not equal to their male counterparts, are less important, and as a result, should expect less and settle for an inferior role in society.
During the years of the mullahs’ misogynistic dictatorship, women’s sports and outdoor activities have always been subject to numerous limitations and obstacles. By politicizing women’s sports and turning it into a national security issue, the mullahs continue to deprive women of these healthy social possibilities. The regime has gone so far as to make riding pillion on a motorcycle illegal for women according to a report by the state-run Asr-e Iran website on June 14, 2020.
The banning of Iranian women from riding motorcycles has made headlines recently. On Sunday, February 15, Hossein Rahimi, the police commander of Greater Tehran, while explaining the police’s plan to deal with motorcyclists, reiterated that since women are not given motorcycle licenses, they are not allowed to ride one.
This is while during the recent presidential elections campaign, the campaign headquarters of current president Ibrahim Raisi published photos of women riding motorcycles brandishing pictures of Raisi to garner support for him.
In the regime’s judicial laws, there is no law prohibiting women from cycling. However, religious scholars in the religious dictatorship enforce this ban every year and routinely prevent women from using bicycles in urban public spaces. The last example is from 2021. The Prosecutor of Torghabeh and Shandiz in northeastern Iran announced that “In accordance with the decree of the Headquarters to Promote Virtue and Prohibit Vice, and according to the fatwa of some religious leaders who forbid women’s bicycling in public, women cyclists have been banned in the city. The head of the Cycling Board of Khorasan Razavi in northeastern Iran also announced the ban on women’s cycling in public spaces in the province, indicating that the Headquarters to Promote Virtue and Prohibit Vice was responsible for this decision.
In Iran, there is no gender requirement to obtain a driving license for automobiles, buses and trucks, but there is one for motorcycles. This means that a woman can drive a heavy truck but is not allowed to ride a motorcycle. Because according to clerics, women’s bodies, despite being covered from head to toe, will be exposed or the sight of a woman riding a bike or motorcycle will entice men.
For more than four decades, the mullahs propaganda machine and the network of its Friday prayer leaders, all representatives of the regime’s Supreme Leader, have wasted no time in demonizing Iranian women to find ways to limit their rights and capabilities. In the regime of ayatollahs, women do not have the right to ride a horse, women do not have the right to ride a bicycle, women do not have the right to ride a motorcycle, women do not have the right to file for divorce or receive the custody of their children in case of a divorce, women do not have the right to become judges or presidents, and women are not allowed to choose certain fields of university studies, to name just a few.
Iranian women, for the past forty-three years, have begun a vigorous struggle against the forced veil, which has spread across the borders of the world. Their role in everyday protests by teachers, workers, pensioners, and in nationwide protests such as the last one in November 2019 is very prominent. Because despite decades of suppression, the regime has never been able to force Iranian women to submit to its theocracy.