Feminists Are Not ‘Enemies of the State’

Target: Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran

Goal: End the campaign of harassment and intimidation against women’s rights activists.

The Iranian government has taken a number of concerning actions against peaceful women’s rights activists, calling them “enemies of the state” and a threat to national security. Sign the petition and demand that the government end its campaign of harassment and intimidation against women’s rights activists.

The authorities’ actions were initially focused on two particular feminist causes: a website called Feminist School and the Campaign to Change the Masculine Face of Parliament. The latter, which was successful in garnering “a five-fold increase in the number of women seeking candidacy,” ended its activities in February 2016 after the parliamentary elections, but noted in its final statement that it had been the target of extensive harassment, intimidation, and investigation by authorities. Feminist School’s website has not been updated since around the same time.

In the months since, the crackdown has been applied to other women’s rights causes and figures, resulting in the incommunicado detention of feminist anthropologist Dr. Homa Hoodfar and in the feminist magazine Zanan-e Emrooz (Today’s Women)’s decision to suspend its activities.

Women associated with all these causes have been summoned without warning or reason to police stations and then extensively interrogated, sometimes for up to eight hours. Amnesty International reports that in some cases security officers verbally abused the women and called them by gendered slurs.

Human rights are a cornerstone of any society, and women’s rights in Iran have long been neglected by authorities. Sign the petition and urge Iran’s leadership to support women’s rights and end its harsh crackdown on feminist activism.


Dear President Rouhani,

Women’s rights are an essential component of human rights. I am therefore saddened, disappointed, and disgusted to witness the recent campaign of harassment and intimidation aimed at feminist activists in Iran. I urge you to work with activists, not against them, to create a more inclusive and just environment for all of Iran’s people.

Women’s rights activists in Iran have been called “enemies of the state” and accused of attempting a “soft overthrow” of the government. However, all evidence points to the contrary; for instance, the Campaign to Change the Masculine Face of Parliament, one of the many causes targeted by authorities, is clearly working within Iran’s existing political system rather than calling for radical action outside of it.

Additionally, many of the actions taken against feminist activists clearly violate international human rights laws, such as the incommunicado detention of feminist anthropologist Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who ought to be released immediately, and the tactic of interrogating activists for up to eight hours straight without allowing their lawyers to be present.

Women make up half the population and must have their voices heard in a way that reflects that reality. I urge you to listen to the voices of Iran’s women; you will find that they only want to create a stronger, fairer, and more inclusive Iran.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Khabar

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