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July 23 2014
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Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran--A Journey Behind the Headlines


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Widespread Elimination of Women from Tehran City Administration "for Their Comfort"

- A Tehran Municipality manager announced on July 13, 2014 that henceforth all managers in the organization should use male employees in their offices, and the Municipality offices should be segregated by gender. - 7/23/14

Google has a 'Security Princess'

- Information Security Engineer is a pretty dry job title. Google's Parisa Tabriz instead prefers to go by "Security Princess." Yes, that is actually what it says on her business cards. -SFGate - 7/22/14

Tehran mayor stands firm on gender segregation plan

- The mayor of Tehran has defended his move to segregate male and female workers in city offices, saying: "We have religious honour and will not permit women to socialize and have contact with men other than their husbands." - 7/20/14

Iran's washing up liquid protest

- A striking piece of graffiti in the heart of Iran's capital Tehran has been widely shared on social media. It shows a woman holding up a "World Cup" in the shape of a washing up liquid bottle. What does it mean and why has it struck a chord? -BBC - 7/15/14

Protests Continue Over Ban on Iranian Women's Presence at Sporting Events: Rouhani's Deputy on Women's Affairs is "Conservative"

- While the ban on women's presence at sporting events continues in the Islamic republic, a group of women gathered at the building of the capital's provincial center building to display their unhappiness where they signed a petition and submitted it to the governor of Tehran in which they demand the authorities to provide a justification for banning women from watching volleyball at the country's largest stadium complex, the Azadi Stadium. -Niusha Saremi - 7/7/14

Activists urge volleyball group to support Iran's female fans

- More than 130 women's rights activists have written an open letter to the head of the International Federation of Volleyball demanding support for the right of women to watch volleyball matches in stadiums. - 6/30/14

Iranian Official Dressed Down Over Revealing Women's Leggings

- Skin-tight leggings popular among Iranian women have sparked an uproar in the Islamic republic's parliament, where the interior minister was dressed down over the female population's fashion choices. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/25/14

Sports, Shorts A Recipe For Rape In Iran

- Women attempting to attend World League volleyball matches being held this month in Tehran learned from the national police chief that their presence "was not in the public interest," while a female lawmaker argued that women at sporting events was a source of "disrespect and rape in society." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/25/14

For Iranian women, makeup speaks volumes

- Under the compulsory veil and despite hard times, Iranian women are unrestrained in showing off one feature on which they feel a need to spend money. Their faces. With a female population of more than 38 million, Iran is the second-largest cosmetics market in the Middle East in terms of revenue, behind Saudi Arabia, and the world's seventh biggest. - 6/24/14

First female governor in Gilan Province of Iran appointed

- Mona Abrufarakh has become the first woman to be chosen as a governor in Gilan Province. IRNA reports that Abrufarakh will serve as governor of central Rasht. The head of provincial elections in Gilan Province said: "This appointment was based on the merits and strengths of the new governor of central Rasht." - 6/24/14

Iranian authorities once again bar women from stadium

- Reports from Iran indicate that on Friday June 20, police and security forces once again prevented women from entering the stadium to watch a volleyball match between Iran and Italy, and a number of them were even arrested. - 6/21/14

Iranian: President Rohani calls for answers on banning of women from stadium

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called on his Minister of Sports and his head of women's affairs to find out why Iranian women were barred from entering a stadium to watch the volleyball match between Iran and Brazil. - 6/18/14

Iranian Lawmakers Urge Rohani To Enforce Islamic Dress Code

- Iranian lawmakers have urged President Hassan Rohani to enforce the Islamic dress code that requires women to cover their hair and body with loose clothing in public. State media reported that 195 lawmakers sent a letter to Rohani on June 15, calling him to take measures against Western cultural influences, which - according to the lawmakers -- target Islamic values. - 6/16/14

The Fetish of Staring at Iran's Women

- took a series of photographs of myself in 2007 that show me sitting on the toilet, weighing myself, and shaving my legs in the bath. I shot them as an angry response to an encounter with a gallery owner in London's artsy Brick Lane... -Haleh Anvari, NY Times - 6/16/14

Iranian Women's Rights Activist, Filmmaker Summoned To Evin

- Evin Prison has summoned Mahnaz Mohammadi, the Iranian filmmaker and women's rights activist, to serve out her five-year prison sentence. Mohammadi was sentenced in September of 2012 for "assembly and collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime." - 6/9/14

Female Musicians Banned from Stage in Isfahan

- Female musicians are not allowed to go onstage and give live performances in Isfahan. Mohammad Qotbi, the head of the Isfahan Culture and Guidance administration and also a member of the clergy, compared music bands to the national football team, saying that just as there are substitutes for players on the football team, music groups should also have substitutes for their females players. - 6/7/14

Iranian women music festival opens mid June

- A music festival for Iranian women will be kicked off in Tehran mid June. "The women music festival is scheduled for June 14-23 on 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm every day," said Kamran Hemmat-Pour, the festival Director. - 6/4/14

Iranian Media Smears Champion Of Unveiled Women

- The world took notice when Iranian women used a Facebook page to openly defy the clerical establishment by posting pictures of themselves in public without a hijab. Now the country's hard-liners appear to be using more traditional media to hit back at the woman who set up the page through a smear campaign that accuses her of espionage, drug use, and immorality that led to her rape. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/3/14

Pioneer Women of Iran now available on Google Play Books

- "Pioneer Women of Iran" (Salar Zanan e Iran), authored by Mansoureh Pirnia, pictures the experience of Iranian women from pre-history up until the Islamic Revolution of 1979. "Pioneer Women of Iran" is the conclusion of 35 year experience and research, on Iranian women; the result of communication and correspondence with intellectual women as well, who have pioneered in the political and social arena of Iran. - 6/1/14

Iranian government acts on complaints from laid-off pregnant workers

- President Rohani's deputy for women's affairs says each week they are handling 20 complaints from women who have been laid off following pregnancy. The Etemad daily reports that Shahindokht Molaverdi said a large number of pregnant workers are losing their jobs after pregnancy. - 5/27/14

Iranian women theological students pay first visit to the US

- As the United States and Iran sat down in Vienna to begin drafting a long-term nuclear agreement, an exchange of another kind was playing out in and around a pastoral university a couple of hours from Washington. -Barbara Slavin, Al-Monitor - 5/18/14

Iranian Women Snap 'Stealthy' Photos Free Of Hijab

- An unveiled young woman stands in front of a sign that reads: "Sisters, observe your hijab." Another with red hair and dark glasses stands next to the ruins of Persepolis, while two others, also sans hijab, dance happily on the shores of the Caspian Sea. They are among dozens of Iranian women inside the country who have posted their hijab-less photos on a newly launched Facebook page to share their "stealthy" moments of freedom from the veil. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/8/14

Two Iranian women to compete in Paris-Dubai rally

- The competition which began on April 15 and will continue into May 5, is an extraordinary automobile rally to link French capital, Paris to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The route drives 6,925km from France, Switzerland, Principaute of Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran to the UAE. - 5/1/14

She was born in Vienna, but she's Iran's first female conductor

- Growing up in Vienna, "the musical capital of the world," as she calls it, it was difficult for Nazanin Aghakhani not to fall in love with classical music. It was all around her -- on TV and radio. She was born to Iranian parents and visited Iran frequently. "In my heart I feel quite Iranian," she says. -Shirin Jaafari, PRI - 4/29/14

Iranian crocodile breeder hailed as a role model for women

- QESHM ISLAND, Iran -- Crocodile farming isn't the most obvious business opportunity in Iran. The wide-jawed reptiles aren't native to the country, their meat can't legally be served at home and they don't have the friendliest reputation. That hasn't stopped one enterprising woman from sinking her teeth into a business that most Iranians would rather avoid. -AP - 4/29/14

Iran Seeks To Offset Advancement Of Women In Medicine

- "Parisa" is among the thousands of young women who have transformed the once male-dominated field of medicine in Iran. Whereas men made up 70 percent of the country's medical students and physicians about 20 years ago, women have reversed the situation to the point that women like Parisa now account for 70 percent of Iran's medical students. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/23/14

Iran's Unemployment Statistics for 2013: Women's Unemployment Rate Rises Further

- The latest figures published by the Iran Statistical Center indicate that the average rate of unemployment in 2013 for women had risen to be twice as high as those for men. This increase in the ratio between men and women took place while the overall rate of unemployment in the country fell by 1.7 percent in the same year. -Niusha Saremi - 4/22/14

Iran: President Rohani speaks up for equality in Women's Day speech

- One day after Iran's Supreme Leader denounced gender equality as a Western cliche, Iranian President Hassan Rohani stressed the need for gender equality in all strata of the country, adding "the fear of women's presence and their excellence" should not be attributed to Islam and religion. - 4/21/14

Iran's medical schools to limit female enrollment

- Medical schools in Iran will restrict admission to women in the coming academic year, the Shargh daily reports. The report indicates that the number of women in the medical field has risen from 42 percent of total admissions in 1992 to 68 percent in the last year. - 4/8/14

Afghan Women Await Poll Results With Hope

- Hopes are high that Afghanistan's election Saturday may result in the country's first peaceful transition of power in more than a century. Militant attacks and electoral fraud are the main threats to the vote for a new president, who will take over after President Hamid Karzai ends his second term. Afghan women, whose freedom has often been curtailed, also worry about their future under a new government. -Zlatica Hoke, VOA - 4/5/14

Gingerly, Iran begins to rock out

- In 2008, Iran banned all pop music. But a recent female solo performance signals growing freedom in a country where heavy metal musicians have been told to stay seated on stage. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 4/1/14

Women can play larger role in Iranian economy

- Iran is facing a socioeconomic issue in women's unemployment. According to an article published in the March 2014 issue of Iran Economics, only 13% of the workforce consists of women and the latest official statistics for women's unemployment stands at 15.6%, though unofficial unemployment figures for this group is 38.3%. Furthermore, only 9.2% of the entrepreneurs in Iran are women. -Al-Monitor. - 3/27/14

Iranian Women in Film and TV: A Panel Discussion, Seminar in Los Angeles

- Noor Iranian Film Festival in association with Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference proudly present a Panel Discussion and Seminar with Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mahnaz Afshar, Nazanin Boniadi, and Necar Zadegan. Moderated by Homa Sarshar. - 3/26/14

Iranians Discuss Nancy Fraser's and Women of Color's Critiques of Feminism

- Nancy Fraser's recent article, "How Feminism Became Capitalism's Handmaiden and How to Reclaim It" has led to some interesting discussions among Iranian women and men inside Iran and in exile. In her article, Fraser argues that the second wave of feminism has abandoned its original ideal of social justice and has been co-opted by capitalist careerism. -Frieda Afary, Zamaneh - 3/14/14

'Modelling Iranian style': surgical alterations and the 'porn star' look

- There is a "fever for modelling" in Tehran right now, says a photographer who has been working in the field for 20 years, as the profession has become a "status marker" in a vanity-driven culture. And the look that's in vogue among female models is far from what many would consider natural Iranian beauty. -Sara Afzal, Guardian - 3/14/14

EU diplomat's meeting with Iranian women draws fire

- On her first trip to Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with Gohar Eshghi, the mother of Sattar Beheshti (the jailed blogger who was pronounced dead three days after his arrest by the Tehran Cyber Police) and women's rights activist Nargess Mohammadi. - 3/11/14

Tehran authorities withdraw permits for Women's Day events

- International Women's Day events in Tehran were cancelled on March 8 after authorities withdrew the permit. Women's rights activists such as Elaheh Kolayi, Alieh Shekarbeigi and Soraya Azizpanah were set to speak at the event, which was organized by the independent women's group Asr-e Kherad in collaboration with the Etemad Newspaper and the Iranian Sociological Association in a program entitled "Women Must Get Organized." - 3/10/14

Photos: Iranian Woman Mahnaz Mirzaei Rules Sarapardeh Coal Mine!

- Mahnaz Mirzaei was born in 1980 in the town of Zarand in Kerman province of Iran. She received a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from Kerman's Shahid Bahonar University. Mirzaei who is interested in tough or in her words "manly" jobs, chose to work at a coal mine. In 2005, she started working at an underground mine. Because of her hard work, dedication and interest, she was promoted to the head of the mine in 2006. - 3/8/14

Release Shafipour, Hedayat, and All Other Iranian Women Prisoners of Conscience

- As the world prepares to honor and promote the economic, political, and social achievements of women on International Women's Day, Iran has sentenced yet another young woman, Maryam Shafipour, for her peaceful activities. - 3/8/14

Free Iranian Women Activists: Imprisonment of 3 Highlights Plight of Female Rights Defenders

- Iran's government should immediately and unconditionally free three female rights defenders unlawfully detained for their support of women, students, and political dissidents, Human Rights Watch said today, International Women's Rights Day. On March 2, 2014, one of the three was sentenced to seven years in prison. The others were already serving prison terms. - 3/8/14

Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities

- Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. --Deborah Amos, NPR - 3/6/14

Iran: Karroubi campaign worker given seven-year sentence

- Maryam Shafipour, an Iranian student activist who worked on Mehdi Karroubi's presidential campaign in 2009, has been sentenced to seven years in jail by the Revolutionary court. Shafipour was arrested last July and held in solitary confinement for 67 days before being released on bail in February. - 3/4/14

Women given senior positions in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province

- The Iranian president has appointed two women to the position of governor in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Massoumeh Parandvar is now serving as the governor of Hamoon, while Homeira Rigi, with a history of leadership roles in the health and interior ministries, is now governor of Qasreqand. - 3/1/14

Silence did not make Sanaz Nezami strong: Facing immigrant domestic violence

- Today her body lays lifeless as her hopes and dreams for a life of accomplishment in the United States is now buried in the cold of a Michigan winter. The police arrived at Sanaz Nezami's home near midnight on Sunday December 8, 2013 when the 27-year-old newly married young woman from Iran was taken to a nearby hospital. -Elahe Amani with Lys Anzia, WNN - 2/19/14

Zanan Group's International Women's Day Celebration 2014 in Cupertino, California

- Partow Noorial, Acclaimed Poet and literary Critic. Mojdeh Shamsaei, Prominent actress of Iranian Cinema. Shahrzad Sepanlou, A refreshing voice from LA. Songs of Azerbaijan by Mahin. Dance Performance by Negar Esfandiari, and Art Exhibition by local Iranian Women artist - 2/17/14

Screening at UCLA - Hush: Girls Don't Scream

- Film screening followed by discussion with Iranian writer/director Pouran Derakhshandeh. Part of the UCLA CNES and Program of Iranian Studies Bilingual Lecture Series. - 2/6/14

IRAN: Old challenges continue for women under new president

- Despite the election of new President Hassan Rowhani in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), women continue to face new challenges in exercising their civil rights. For women this means a great challenge to reach equality as well as accessing educational and workforce resources. -Elahe Amani, WNN - 2/5/14

German-Iranian Woman Elected Secretary General Of The Social Democratic Party

- Yasmin Fahimi, a German-Iranian woman, has been elected as the Secretary General of German co-governing Social Democratic Party (SPD). Fahimi received 492 (88.5%) of the 557 votes cast. - 1/28/14

Retreat in the Last 165 Days

- The man who was elected to be Iran's next president 165 days ago had made promises about women and equality during the last month of his presidential election campaign which ultimately brought him much support and votes. Hassan Rouhani's verbal support of half of Iran's 72 million people - the women - brought him more votes and victory. - 1/19/14

Iran Should Release Imprisoned Activist for Urgent Medical Treatment

- The Iranian Judiciary should immediately release imprisoned student activist Bahareh Hedayat before continued imprisonment and lack of adequate medical treatment for her chronic reproductive system problems cause irreversible damage to her health, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 1/18/14

Iranian female official won't speak at Friday prayers after all

- Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Iran's Department of the Environment, has reported on her Facebook page that she will not be speaking at the Friday Mass Prayers in Tehran, despite earlier announcements. - 1/18/14

Female official to make history at Tehran's Friday Mass Prayer

- Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Iran's Department of the Environment, will become the first woman to ever speak at Tehran's Friday Mass Prayers this Friday January 17. The report adds that Ebtekar's speech will mark the beginning of Clean Week, which highlights environmental awareness and cleaning efforts. - 1/16/14

Nine female-fronted bands to perform at Iran's Fajr Music Festival

- Nine female-fronted Iranian ensembles are scheduled to give performances at the 29th Fajr International Music Festival in February. Only women will be allowed to attend the concerts, which will be performed by these bands that mostly are led by singers. - 1/16/14

Rohani deputy reports on lack of women among Iranian leaders

- The presidential deputy for women and family affairs says Iranian women are mostly excluded from top positions in the government. ILNA reports that Shahindokht Molaverdi said in a report that except for a few women in Parliament, the unfortunate truth is there are no women in top posts. - 1/14/14

Iranian City Councillor Says She Lost Post Over Facebook Account

- Behshahr city councillor Azamolsadat Hosseini announced that she has been dismissed from her position as spokesperson for the council for having a Facebook account. Ms. Hosseini's dismissal has become a hot topic in Iranian media over the past two days. - 1/11/14

German-Iranian woman set to head co-ruling Social Democratic Party

- Berlin - Yasmin Fahimi, A German-Iranian woman, is tipped to become the next secretary general of Germanyˈs co-governing Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Frankfurt-based daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Wednesday. - 1/9/14

New Population and Family Plan Would Stifle Women, Says Iranian Civil Society

- More than 650 Iranian citizens and civil activists have issued a statement objecting to the "Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Plan" currently on the Iranian Parliament's agenda, arguing that the plan would place undue restrictions on women's employment and educational opportunities. - 1/8/14

In Iran, Violence Against Women Highest Among Kurds

- According to the BBC's Persian service, 66.3 percent of Iranian women experience violence in their lives, but Kurdistan Province and the city of Ahvaz are reported to be the two most violent cities for females. -Ava Homa, Rudaw - 1/6/14

Madam Mayor And Her Plans

- "I am a Baluchi woman with green dreams for my city." These are the words of Samie Baluchzehi, a woman who passed three key hurdles to become the first ever Iranian Baluchi mayor: being a woman, being single and being a Sunni. As mayor of the town of Sarbaz in Iran's Baluchistan province, Baluchzehi has announced her dreams of turning the township of Kalat, a subdivision of Sarbaz into a greenhouse. -Mansur Shojayee - 1/3/14

Female bodybuilders try to lift sport's profile in Iran

- Because they have to wear hijabs, Iranian women athletes cannot compete in many international competitions, and have to settle for competing at a national level. But for Iran's female bodybuilders, any sort of competition is out of the question. -France24 - 1/3/14

Baluchi Sunni woman elected mayor is first for Iran

- The election of the first Baluchi woman (Samiyeh Balochzehi) last week as the mayor of Kalat, a city in the south of Iran, was an unprecedented event in one of the most underprivileged and conservative provinces in Iran. -Al-Monitor - 12/9/13

Iranian woman's dreams about space travel take shape in Danish documentary

- Danish filmmaker Berit Madsen has directed a documentary about Sepideh Hushyar, a young Iranian woman who dares to plan for her future as an astronaut. The documentary entitled Sepideh (Break of Dawn) was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) on Monday. It was filmed by Iranian cameraman Mohammadreza Jahanpanah. - 11/29/13

In Iran, Among the Beauty-Obsessed Women

- Novelist Marjan Kamali goes back to visit family in Iran, and discovers a country that is obsessed with beauty and makeup - 11/19/13

New Deprivations for Iranian Women: Order to Ban Women From Watching Automobile Races!

- A day after FIFA President Sepp Blatter called on Iranian officials to lift the ban on Iranian women's participation in sporting events, Iran's ministry of sports issued a directive on orders from the security bureau of the intelligence ministry which bans Iranian women from viewing auto-racing events at Tehran's Azadi stadium. - 11/14/13

FIFA chief calls on Iran to let women into stadiums

- Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA, has called on Iran to allow women into stadiums to watch football matches. AFP reports that the FIFA chief discussed his request in a meeting with Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of Iran's Department of the Environment, and Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Parliament, during his latest trip to Iran. - 11/9/13

FSHN Magazine reveals 1st ever fashion editorial shot in Iran

- Fashionable, Sexy, Haute and Naughty Magazine (FSHN) today announced the presence of the first ever complete high fashion editorial, shot in IRAN exclusively for the Magazine by Berkeley, Ca based photographer Afra Pourdad. - 11/7/13


- To rebel against the Islamic regime, women in Iran choose not to respect the dress code. In charge of arresting the culprits is Iran's moral police. Photograph Maryam Rahmanian ridicules these practices with this series of amazing photographs, that will most likely never to be publicised in the country. - 11/7/13

Iranian women win 3 gold medals in wushu world championship

- Elaheh Mansourian defeated her Korean opponent in the final round and won her first ever international gold medal. She was severely injured in the first round; however, she fought back to win the title for Iran. - 11/5/13

Women's Rights Are Linked to U.S.-Iran Negotiations

- While U.S. and Iranian negotiators prepare for another round of nuclear talks in Geneva next month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been silent about another matter that could be even more indicative of his willingness to take on hardline conservatives. -Fariba Parsa - 11/4/13

Iranian university to reinstate women's studies program

- Women's Studies will be offered again at Allameh Tabatabai University, says the university's new head, Hossein Salimi. Salimi announced that the department will begin accepting applicants in the next academic year. - 10/30/13

Iranian Culture Minister Says Opinions Allowed On Women Singing Solo

- Iran's minister of culture says it is not wrong to express an opinion about solo female singers in Iranian music. ILNA reports that Culture Minister Ali Jannati said: "Every person is free to express their own opinion in this regard, but there is not even consensus among senior religious leaders on this subject." - 10/23/13

Maryam Tousi: A girl with the speed of the wind

- Maryam Tousi (born 5 December 1988 in Tehran) is an Iranian sprint athlete who specializes in the 200 metres. She is the Iranian record holder in the 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 4x400 m relay. Tousi is the fastest Iranian women runner, and her biggest wish is to show the place of Iranian women in the world and to raise Iran's flag in competitions. - 10/7/13

Muslim Women Compete in Miss Muslima Beauty Pageant

- JAKARTA - In Indonesia, organizers of the "Miss World" beauty pageant have bowed to pressure from Islamic hardliners and moved the event to the Hindu-majority island Bali. But in the country's capital, Muslim women from across the globe took to the catwalk to compete in a Miss World of their own. -Kate Lamb, VOA - 9/20/13

South Korea upsets Iran at Asian Women's Volleyball Championship

- South Korea brushed aside Iran at the 2013 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship on Monday. The Korean team defeated Iran in straights sets (25-14, 25-10, 25-18) in Pool F at the Chatchai Halland in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. - 9/17/13

Meet Shirin Gerami, Iran's first female triathlete

- Shirin Gerami, a 24-year-old woman from Iran, has made history by becoming the country's first female triathlete to have taken part in the sport's world championship. -Guardian - 9/16/13
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