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Women's rights in Iran

Ahwazi Arab women's rights activist Pooran Saki has called for an end to the Iran regime's treatment of women as second class citizens and called for the repeal of "unacceptable" Islamic laws.

Women in Iran are "severely oppressed", according to Mrs Saki. "As a result of backwardness and discrimination against woman in the area of education and jobs, women do not have the power to ask for freedom."

In a report for the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS), she condemned the Islamic laws introduced after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

"Some of the laws relating to woman are unacceptable, like being forced to wear the hijab (veil), blood money, consent for divorce, and arranged marriages," she said. "Wearing the hijab is part of Islamic beliefs and some woman it because they believe it protects them. But now wearing the hijab has become law and the government forces women to wear this type of veil, but many women do not want to be forced to wear it."

She also criticised the Iranian regime's ban on women filing for divorce without the consent of their husbands: "This causes many problems and many women suffer harm in abusive marriages because of this law. Additionally, if a woman gets divorced, she is not allowed to keep her children. Both children and women suffer under this law."

Women in Iran are also forced into marriages by their parents, even when they are children. Many of these marriages are not successful and some women are subjected to domestic violence, but they are not protected by the law.

At an Ahwazi event in London to mark International Women's Day, speakers drew attention to the persecution suffered by Ahwazi women who are oppressed on the basis of both gender and ethnicity.

One Ahwazi woman told the meeting: "The international community should shoulder its responsibility towards Ahwazi and non-Persian women rights in Iran and should not remain indifferent, silent and ignorant about their oppression. They are subjected to racial and sexual discrimination under the Iranian regime due to its belief that women are second-class and that Ahwazi Arabs are second degree citizens."