Preparing for the second week of Tuesday protests, Iranian opposition figures are calling for people to take to the streets on International Women’s Day, which takes place this year on March 8.
The theme will help broaden the appeal of Iran’s democratic opposition movement, which since February 14 has shown surprising strength. The Islamic Republic represses the rights of women, and the movement for gender equality is growing inside Iran.
Coincidentally, the protest comes just days after the Islamic Republic became a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, with the concurrence of the United States.
“In a strongly worded statement, human rights lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi urged Iranians to stage rallies pressing for reform of constitutional laws to achieve better gender equality,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“‘Incrementally the identity and the character of the Iranian woman has become the target of attacks by men who didn’t even respect the rights of their mothers,’ she charged in the statement, which was on the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. ‘Those who viewed themselves more worthy than even their mothers, shamelessly wrote laws which valued women as half that of men.’”
“‘Iranian women are not starved for political power nor are they demanding decadence. They are simply weary of enduring more cruelty and disparagement. They are in search of justice and equality,’ added the message.”
March 8 is the second Tuesday in a row in which the Iranian opposition takes to the streets to demand the release of Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and their wives, who have been imprisoned without charge and have been unable to communicate with the outside world or their families. Since their detention, the protest movement has radicalized from one dominated by “reformers” to one that increasingly calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.