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Iran's hardliners say 'no' to pact on women's rights

TEHERAN - A Bill urging Iran to join a global agreement on women's rights has been rejected by the government's supervisory body.

The Guardian Council defied Parliament and rejected a United Nations treaty which aimed to eliminate discrimination against women, the BBC reported.

Iranian state television said the council claimed the convention was against syariah law and the Constitution.

The reformist-dominated Parliament ratified the Bill last month, believing that it would promote Iran's image abroad and help domestic problems.

That decision provoked bitter denunciation by hardliners, many of whom claimed the convention was colonialist.

However, the council's decision came as no surprise, according to the BBC.

It noted that the unelected Guardian Council, which vets all legislation in accordance with syariah law, was controlled by hardliners and had rejected scores of Bills passed by Parliament in the past, including a few on human rights.

The issue of signing off on the women's rights treaty has created much debate in Iran.

Earlier this month, dozens of clerics held rallies in the holy city of Qom to protest against Parliament's decision.

But the 13 female Members of Parliament had pointed to the fact that 168 countries, including several Islamic ones, had signed the convention.

Despite enjoying greater freedom than in many other Islamic countries, Iranian women are treated as second-class citizens.

In the courts, they are worth half the value of men, have fewer rights in divorce and child custody, and need their husbands' permission to work or travel abroad.

President Mohammad Khatami on Tuesday warned religious hardliners who opposed his reform efforts that they were alienating the country's youth and storing up trouble for the future.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying: 'Ignoring young people and their demands and misusing religion and Islamic values to oust political rivals from the scene could create big problems for society.'

Mr Khatami's failure to deliver promised reforms in democracy, justice and citizens' rights since his 1997 election has caused his popularity to dip in recent months, particularly among the two-thirds of Iranians under 30 years old.

But in the latest in a recent spate of reflective and hard-hitting speeches by the normally conciliatory President, he hit out at those who he said 'believe that their thoughts...are God's religion itself', the official Irna news agency reported.

He said Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution was not supposed to 'create a religious aristocracy and say that because our revolution is a religious one, the religious people and those who hold religious titles are different from others and enjoy more privileges'.,4386,204618,00.html
20 posted on 08/14/2003 5:50:37 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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Another Must Read Article, by Michael Ledeen. -- DoctorZin

Iran-Contra Revisited? Our dangerous Iran policy continues.

National Review Online ^ | 8.14.2003 | Michael Ledeen
Posted on 08/14/2003 8:12 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

Our dangerous Iran policy continues.

Even for August, the media's handling of the latest round of leaks from the usual unnamed sources in State and CIA on the subject of Iran is unusually feckless. The gist of the "story" fed to the press is that some Pentagon officials (and maybe I, as well) met and actually spoke with some Iranians a year or more ago, and then again a month or two ago. These talks were "unauthorized," which apparently means that Colin Powell and George Tenet weren't asked for permission beforehand, and, according to Newsday and the Washington Post, they got in the way of the State Department's own secret talks with members of the Iranian regime. One unnamed deep thinker went so far as to see the dark hand of a neoconservative plot, designed to prod the Iranians into a rigid and uncooperative posture that would defeat State's efforts to arrive at a deal with Tehran.

To find the entire post, go to:

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
21 posted on 08/14/2003 8:23:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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