The crimes perpetrated against women by imperialism and the Pahlavi regime
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Khomeini, Leader of Islamic Revolution in Iran
Loss of self-esteem and Westernisation
They disseminated propaganda with the aim of making you ladies lose your self-esteem and of Westernising you. Beauty products had to come from the West, the latest fashions had to be brought in from the West, and you had to change every day in keeping with the changes in fashion. Everything of yours came from the West. This is what they propagated and everyone fell into this habit (of copying the West).
If word arrived that in England, for example, such and such was the fashion, and then all previous models would have to be discarded in favour of the new one. When they were designing a dress for Farah, for her coronation I think it was, the designers flew back and forth many times at immense cost all for the sake of one dress! What is amusing then is that according to the newspapers, she used to say ‘our children share their clothes, the younger wearing the elder’s hand-me-downs’!!
This said by someone who sends her designers abroad three times simply to get the design right, and spends I don’t know how much, 150,000 tumans or so, on the design of just one dress! What was their aim behind all this? They simply wanted to shut your eyes (to other things). (410)
3 May 1979 (12 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)
They (the Pahlavis) completely did away with promoting human values in Iran, replacing them instead with values from the West. And it wasn’t the good Western values they proceeded to spread among us, rather the corrupt ones. It was perhaps during the period of the son (Muhammad Riza) that most of our spiritual values were destroyed. But in his time (the time of the father, Riza Shah), one could say the oppression was more noticeable. They tormented the women more then, as indeed they did all the people. (411)
2 July 1979 (11 Tir 1358 AHS)
I can say that during the reigns of this father and son, our ladies suffered more than any other segment of society. Perhaps most of you cannot remember what they did to the ladies in the time of Riza Shah, what calamities they created on the plea of wanting to make Iran like Europe, of wanting to modernise Iran and bring half of its population into society. You have no idea what they did to the ladies. (412)
2 July 1979 (11 Tir 1358 AHS)
As long as these ladies (I am not referring to you ladies, you are of the people, I mean the other ladies) continue to direct their attention to such things as fashion that must come from the West - the latest mode there having to be copied here - as long as they keep imitating the West, they will not enjoy any self-esteem nor be independent. If you want to be independent, if you want to be seen as, or rather if you want to be a truly independent nation, you must stop imitating the West. Don’t even hope for independence before you can do this. (413)
8 September 1979 (17 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)
All the things they used to pervert our youth were gifts from the West. Their plan was to devise the means to pervert both our men and our women, to corrupt them and thus prevent them from their human development. (414)
13 September 1979 (22 Shahrivar 1358 AHS)
Those who want to see women as playthings in the hands of dissolute men are traitors. Women should not be tricked, they shouldn’t imagine their station in life calls for them to come out into the streets dressed up and made up, with no veil and scantily dressed. This is not the role of women; this is the role of a doll. (415)
1 February 1980 (12 Bahman 1358 AHS)
For during this past half-century of blackness and bondage, this opprobrious Pahlavi era, the poisonous pens of the misguided and the words of benighted speakers sought to give women the status of a commodity, and those women who were vulnerable were drawn to centres that the pen is ashamed to mention.
Anyone wishing to know something of these crimes can refer to the newspapers and magazines of the Riza Khan era, to the poems of the blackguards and scoundrels of that period, that corrupt period from the compulsory unveiling of women onwards. One can find out about the social gatherings of those days and the centres of corruption that existed.
Shame on those people. May the pens of such intellectuals be broken. Do not think that the crimes perpetrated on the plea of freedom for women and freedom for men had nothing to do with the plans of the world-plunderers and the international criminals. (416)
5 May 1980 (15 Urdibihisht 1359 AHS)
Another thing about which I have spoken on previous occasions is that they instilled in us the idea that it was either the European culture or nothing at all. If a young man or lady were to dress from head to toe in European fashion, this showed that they were really somebody, whereas if they were to dress like the other Muslims, they would be considered extremely backward. European styles were the criteria, the type of clothes one wore, these determined backwardness or progressiveness. Everything we used had to be from the West. They turned us into a country of consumers. (417)
8 March 1982 (17 Isfand 1360 AHS)
Those who can remember those days know only too well what this criminal traitor did with the aid of his perfidious agents who had no homeland, and what measures they took to lead the innocent women astray, to turn them into consumers and drag them into corruption in order to expedite the success of their plans.
It is enough for the present generation, who did not experience those black days, to look at the books, poems, writings, plays, songs, newspapers and magazines of that period and the centres of corruption, the gambling houses, liquor stores and cinemas which are all vestiges of those times. Alternatively, they can speak to those who lived through that period and ask them what acts of oppression and betrayal were carried out against women, this segment of the population that nurtures human beings, in the guise of advancing their position. (418)
14 April 1982 (25 Farvardin 1361 AHS)
When you looked at society, at men and women both, you saw that it was their appearance that determined their worth: what kind of clothes they wore, how they were tailored, what kind of make-up they wore. Whoever dressed better and with greater chic was held in higher esteem by the people. A woman who copied the European style of dress and make-up commanded more respect and admiration from most other women than those who didn’t. The value system was based on the material. (419)
26 December 1982 (5 Dey 1361 AHS)
Throughout the not-too-distant past, especially in the recent centuries, we were deprived of progress in any form. Perfidious statesmen, and the Pahlavi family in particular, along with the dissemination of propaganda discouraging domestic achievement and instilling in the people a lack of self-worth and a feeling of self-contempt, worked together to stop us doing anything that would ensure our development.
They imported goods of every sort, preoccupying the men and women, particularly the young generation, with all kinds of make-up, styles and luxury goods imported from abroad. They kept them busy with infantile games, made them feel they had to compete with one another socially, turned them into ardent consumers - which is a sorrowful tale in itself - sought to corrupt the youth, who are the active members of a society, by opening centres of fornication and by inflicting scores of other similar adversities upon us, all with the sole intention of keeping our country in a state of backwardness. (420)
5 June 1989 (15 Khurdad 1368 AHS)
The clergy say this shameful unveiling (of women), this ‘movement of the bayonet’, is detrimental to the country both in a material and spiritual sense and is prohibited by the laws of God and the Messenger. The clergy say this basin-shaped cap, the cast-off of the foreigners, brings shame to an Islamic country, is damaging to our independence and is forbidden by God’s law.
Kashf al-Asrar p. 213.
Of course, they regard the civilisation and advancement of the country as being dependent upon women’s going naked in the streets, or to quote their own idiotic words, turning half the population into workers by unveiling them (we know only too well what kind of work is involved here). They will not agree to the country’s being administered rationally and in accordance with God’s law.
Kashf al-Asrar p. 224.
A government which, contrary to the laws of the land and everything considered just, appoints a group of predatory animals as police in every town and city to fall upon chaste Muslim women, who have committed no crime, and by force of the bayonet to tear their veils from their heads and confiscate them, to kick these defenceless women causing some of the pregnant ones amongst them to miscarry their innocent, unborn babes, we call a tyrannical government, and say assisting or working with it in any way is tantamount to blasphemy.
We say a dictatorial government is an oppressive one, and those who work for it are tyrants and oppressors. If you have anything to say on this matter do so, so that their infamy may be added to.
The oppressed masses of Iran today also abhor the agents of the dictatorial regime of that day who so mistreated their innocent women and children the way they did, and perpetrated such shameful injustices against them. Indeed, whoever regards them as decent, honourable people is himself devoid of honour and justice. Those newspapers that back the oppressive actions of the runaway dictator, the most painful of which is the unveiling of women, are actually aiding the savage principles of dictatorship and should be burnt in public.
Kashf al-Asrar p. 239.
When men see that the police, instead of keeping the peace, use their boots and bayonets to force their innocent women to remove their veils or to establish brothels, and that they themselves are mistreated so that the disgraceful basin cap (Pahlavi cap) can be imposed on them, do you still expect them to accept taxes as the legitimate right of the state?
Kashf al-Asrar p. 250.
These lascivious animals who, on the plea of wanting to develop the country, engage in bacchanalian revelry with the young daughters of the people, continue to persist with this heinous policy of unveiling - which cast the modesty and correctness of our susceptible youth to the winds and was one of Riza Khan’s biggest acts of treason against this country - oblivious to the fact that very soon, if God wills, the religious people will raise an iron fist and deliver them a blow such that it will knock these feelings of lust right out of their foolish heads.
Kashf al-Asrar p. 283.
So where is the prosperity and happiness that this country has been so fortunate to have had so far? Yes, it amounts to nothing other than a basin-shaped hat, the cast-off of others, the unveiling of women, which committed modesty and chastity to the flames, and several boulevards for which our resources of wealth and moral excellence were forfeited.
Kashf al-Asrar p. 292.
They forced the women to attend certain gatherings. They forced the men to attend those corrupt gatherings they held with their wives and daughters. The situation was the same in every city, even in Qum, the spiritual centre of the country. (421)
2 December 1962 (11 Azar 1341 AHS)
Twenty-odd years have passed since the scandalous forced removal of the Islamic veil took place. Check and see what you have done. You’ve put women into the offices, and every office they’ve been put into has become paralysed. (422)
2 December 1962 (11 Azar 1341 AHS)
Why are the events of the 7th January (17 Dey) freely celebrated? These things create hatred. Don’t make the country’s king hated. We advise you not to turn the 7th January into a day of celebration. We believe this to be a heinous act. Protect this country. The events of 7th January do not signify progress. (423)
2 December 1962 (11 Azar 1341 AHS)
God only knows how this nation of Iran suffered when he forced the women to remove their veils. The veil of humanity was rent asunder. God knows which women he dishonoured in this way, which people he humiliated. He forced the `ulama at bayonet-point to attend celebratory parties with their wives, which they did with heavy hearts and which ended with the people crying.
Other people as well, different groups in turn, were invited and obliged to attend parties with their wives. This was the freedom for women, which Riza Shah enforced. He used bayonets and the police to compel the respected people, the merchants and the `ulama, to attend these parties on the excuse that he himself had organised them. At some of these celebrations - as the regime called them - the people cried so much that those agents with a sense of shame regretted having forced them to attend. (424)
9 January 1978 (19 Dey 1356 AHS)
Could any Muslim agree with this scandalous uncovering of women? The women of Iran have themselves risen up against the Shah and given him a punch in the mouth with the cry: “We don’t want to live this way! We want to be free!” To which this good-for-nothing replies: “But you are free! The only thing is that you cannot go to school wearing a chador or head-covering!” You call this freedom? (425)
18 February 1978 (29 Bahman 1356 AHS)
Today is 7th January (17 Dey), I can remember, as perhaps this man (the Shah) does, indeed anyone of our age may recall what wickedness this man (Riza Shah) perpetrated around this time. Such pressure he put this nation under, such repression; what disgraceful acts were carried out against so many honourable women because of him; so many miscarriages occurred around the time of 7th January.
Such acts of aggression this man's agents and executioners perpetrated against the men, how outrageously they violated the rights of the women and dragged them from their homes. These are the deeds your father perpetrated; they are beyond description. His true character will be evident in the next world; we could not understand him properly while he was in this world, we could not understand what kind of an animal he truly was. (426)
7 January 1979 (17 Dey 1357 AHS)
God only knows what this father and son have done to this country of ours. Throughout its history Iran has not witnessed the likes of such acts of treason. All the monarchs throughout the 2,500 years or more of monarchical rule in Iran were traitors; even those who were reputed to be good were traitors, yet their treachery did not reach the bounds which that of these two did. Indeed, no one really knows to what bounds Riza Shah and his son’s treachery did in fact reach, the extent of their crimes was huge, but the extent of their treachery was even greater.
What scenes we witnessed during the reign of Riza Khan, a reign that perhaps most of you cannot remember. In Qum and indeed in all the towns and cities in accordance with the wishes of those who instructed him and in the name of kashf-i hijab, he violated that which is inviolable in Islam; he violated that which is sacrosanct to the believers and to our respected women. What his agents did to our veiled ladies! How they treated them! They tore off their chadors and scarves and confiscated them. I myself witnessed these scenes, and you have witnessed what this son did to this country on the plea of creating a ‘great civilisation’. (427)
8 March 1979 (17 Isfand 1357 AHS)
You have no idea what they did to the ladies of Qum. There was a police chief there, I don’t know if he’s still alive or not, who treated the women very badly. One day, so it was said, he had a nosebleed, as he sat there with blood dripping from his nose, his eyes fell on a lady wearing a chador or a scarf. Paying no heed to his nosebleed, he jumped up and attacked her. This is how they treated the women in those days, and in this recent period you yourselves witnessed what they did to this nation, what killings they perpetrated in all cities, what calamities they brought about in Qum alone. (428)
28 March 1979 (8 Farvardin 1358 AHS)
News came from villages, towns and cities that could not be repeated. Our ladies had information that blackened the face of history. You don’t know what events took place here, in Qum, the spiritual centre. You have no idea what a spectacle they created, how they brought the women out and forced them to attend parties celebrating the unveiling. (429)
23 April 1979 (3 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)
The goal was to pervert not to reform. The goal was to stop the country from developing. Thus, from this we can deduce that the unveiling which Riza Khan pursued in imitation of Turkey and the West and in accordance with the mission with which he had been assigned was against our country’s interests. (430)
16 May 1979 (26 Urdibihisht 1358 AHS)
You must realise that all the inhabitants of our country were subjected to pressure. During that period, when the former ruler (Riza Shah) took steps to enforce the unveiling and drag the nation into depravation and ruination, perhaps Qum, and Tehran too, suffered more as a consequence than anywhere else. Pressure, however, was brought to bear on the people everywhere. (431)
13 June 1979 (23 Khurdad 1358 AHS)
He did things that caused much opprobrium, like the unveiling. You have no idea what a calamity the unveiling at that time was for the people; you can’t imagine what his agents did to the people and the women causing much public discontent. But their power was great and people had no leadership, they couldn’t do anything in the face of such power; the grudges, however, were many. (432)
27 May 1979 (6 Khurdad 1358 AHS)
You may not remember most of what went on, but I can remember what they did at the time of Riza Khan in the name of uniformity of dress and unveiling, how the taboos of this country were torn apart, how they bullied and how miscarriages occurred as a result of their attacking the women in order to rend their chadors from their heads. (433)
5 November 1979 (14 Aban 1358 AHS)
In the final years of my period in Qum, perhaps it was in my last year there just before the uprising of the 15th Khurdad, I heard that the government was planning for some women to gather at the tomb of Riza Shah and commemorate the unveiling of women. Some government officials in Qum came to see me and I told them each to inform their ministries that were this plan to be carried out, I would call on the nation to hold a day of national mourning for those killed in the massacre perpetrated by the regime at the Gauhar Shad mosque.
They reported what I’d said to them and subsequently the government changed its plans. Be that as it may, the circumstances that the regime had created were in direct contradiction to what the nation had to do. (434)
10 September 1980 (19 Shahrivar 1359 AHS)
The goal behind the unveiling affair was not, as they purported, to bring the women, say ten million women, into society and get them involved in social affairs. Rather it was an order that they had received from abroad and which they carried out with the intention of leading us into captivity.
Perhaps none of you can remember the affair, you may have been too small at that time, but the bitter taste of the unveiling, which later Riza Khan’s son called creating ‘free men and free women’ remains in my mouth. You don’t know what they did to the esteemed ladies, indeed to all segments of the society. Merchants, tradesmen and clergymen all were forced to attend parties (celebrating the unveiling) along with their wives; if they refused, they were beaten and subjected to verbal abuse.
Their aim was to use the women as a preoccupation for the youth so that they would not get involved in fundamental issues. They employed different methods to stop our youth and our academics from pondering their own situation and that of their country, the unveiling, with the disgraceful acts they perpetrated, being one of them. Respectable women were mistreated, clergymen likewise, agents even approached the late Mr. Kashani and told him he had to attend the parties too, but he sent them away, protesting that they were only obeying orders, with a flea in their ear.
In towns and villages everywhere throughout the country the story was the same. The deeds they perpetrated in Qum were so opprobrious they defy description. And this was all in order to bring the young people, the gullible young people, men and women, together socially and preoccupy them with one another, so that they became indifferent towards the fundamental problems facing the country.
They created centres of fornication and other forms of corruption for the same reason; from Tehran to Tajrish hundreds of these centres were opened. So as you see they used the women, and consequently our youth, our people, did not attend to the basic problems, as they should have, neither the men nor the women. (435)
10 September 1980 (19 Shahrivar 1359 AHS)
Through the ignominious scheme for the unveiling of women devised during the reign of that dim-witted thug Riza Khan, they conspired to change this beloved segment of the population whose role it is to develop society, into one that would corrupt society. And their plan was not aimed only at you ladies. It also sought to corrupt the young men too by luring them into centres of corruption, and to train them in such a way that were their country to fall into the hands of others they would remain indifferent or even assist in its capitulation. (436)
16 March 1981 (25 Isfand 1359 AHS)
Those of you who say the Riza Shah period was better than the present, what was life like for you at that time? Not only you, but our late Shaykh too, may God’s blessings be upon him, what was his situation at that time? The late Shaykh `Abdulkarim Ha’iri wrote a letter to Riza Shah about one affair, which may have been the unveiling, but he didn’t receive a reply. However, his prime minister told him his concerns had been reported to His Imperial Majesty to which the latter had retorted: ‘He had better mind his own business.’ (437)
21 March 1982 (1 Farvardin 1361 AHS)
Perhaps I know better than most the problems, which beset this country throughout the reigns of this father and son, for there are not many, like me who have lived long enough to witness events in both eras. Most of you ladies will not be able to remember the period of Riza Shah, perhaps there are only a few among you who can recall those sad times.
During that era, on the plea of wanting to make one half of the population of Iran (i.e. the women) active members of society, that villainous scoundrel perpetrated the crime of the unveiling, and instead of making half the population active, to a great extent he paralysed the other half, that is the men. Those dolls he and his regime created and put in all the offices, simply prevented others in the office from working effectively, and those they put on the streets led our youth astray and robbed them of their activeness. They claimed to want to bring Eastern civilisation into Iran, but in the process, they destroyed the great Islamic civilisation in the country. (438)
13 March 1982 (22 Isfand 1361 AHS)
The oppression suffered by the esteemed ladies of Iran under the taghuti Pahlavi regime was not suffered by the men. Those ladies who felt obliged to act in accordance with Islamic principles, who accepted the precepts Islam laid down for them and dressed accordingly, suffered in different ways under both Riza Shah and Muhammad Riza.
I can remember what happened to the ladies during the time of Riza Shah, and it’s a good thing that you cannot, for what occurred was so horrendous it defies description. One cannot begin to put into words the oppression suffered by this class of the nation during the period of that corrupt shah, nor determine the extent of the pressures they were subjected to and the tragedies they were made to endure.
Under Muhammad Riza the situation changed and the depth of the crime deepened. While under Riza Shah the women were bullied, pressurised, beaten, arrested, had their chadors ripped off them and their hair pulled, Muhammad Riza took a radical stand against women’s modesty, indeed against everything in Iran, the women being just one aspect.
Each of them adopted his own special method, devised his own particular plot to drag the women into corruption and rob our society of its modesty and decency. Praise God though, the Iranian women resisted, and apart from a group of their relatives or women infatuated with the West or connected to the regime, the rest of the sisters resisted this onslaught. (439)
8 April 1984 (19 Farvardin 1363 AHS)
The undertaking to remove the veil of modesty from the heads of virtuous Muslim women was spurred by carnal desires and is now rampant in the country at variance with religion and the laws, yet no one utters a word against it. (440)
The year 1946
At that time the propaganda was such that women did not dare come out dressed the way they should (according to Islamic precepts). Those who wanted to keep their hijab either did not leave their homes at all or they came out only when darkness had fallen, and crept surreptitiously from one place to another. As we observe, everything else was the same. (441)
27 August 1985 (5 Shahrivar 1364 AHS)
Women’s entry into rubber-stamp parliaments and other assemblies
From the time this ignorant, despicable government came into power, its target has been Islam. In the newspapers they wrote in big, bold print that they had given women the right to participate in elections, but this was just a devilish ruse to deflect public criticism from the true intention, which was to eliminate Islam and the Qur’an from the process.
Consequently, when we first met here to discuss the issue, our minds were initially distracted by the matter of women’s participation. Later, after studying the issue more closely, we realised that it was not about women, this was only a minor point; it was about opposing Islam. (442)
30 March 1963 (10 Farvardin 1342 AHS)
Imam’s telegram to the Shah
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
His Imperial Majesty,
Greetings and good wishes. According to that which has been published in the newspapers, the government has not made Islamic qualifications a prerequisite for candidates and voters in the elections for the Provincial and County Councils, and has given women the right to vote. This is of great concern to the religious authorities and other Muslims.
As Your Majesty knows, the well being of this country lies in the preservation of Islamic decrees and in the people’s peace of mind. Therefore, it is requested that you order for those issues, which contravene the official religion of this country to be excluded from the programmes of the government and political parties so that you will be the recipient of the Muslim nation’s prayers. (443)
9 October 1962 (17 Mehr 1341 AHS)
Telegram to Assadollah `Alam
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Tehran - The Honourable Mr. Assadollah `Alam, Prime Minister of Iran.
This long recess of the Parliament proves that the government is considering procedures, which are against divine laws and clearly contradict the constitutional law. Know for certain that any violation of Islamic and constitutional laws, as well as those enacted by the Consultative Assembly (Parliament), will make His Excellency and the government seriously accountable before Almighty God, the Muslim nation and the law.
The entry of women into Parliament, Provincial and County Councils and Town Councils contravenes the indisputable laws of Islam, the interpretation of which, according to the text of the Constitution, is given over to the learned `ulama and the maraji’, no one else having the right to interfere.
The jurists of Islam and the Muslims’ maraji’ have issued an edict forbidding it. Such being the case, women’s franchise and right to be elected at any level contravenes Article 2 of the Supplementary Constitutional Law. Similarly, the National Consultative Assembly’s Electoral Law ratified in Rabi’ II 1325 deprives women of the right to vote or be voted for in Provincial and County Council and Town Council elections. Refer to Articles 7 and 9 of the Provincial and County Council Bill and Articles 15 and 17 of the Municipal Law. Thus, granting the women such a right would be an infringement of the law.
Likewise the abrogation of the qualification that electors and candidates must be Muslim, which is stipulated in the said law, and replacing the policy of swearing the oath on the Holy Qur’an to one which stipulates swearing on a ‘holy book’, are an infringement of the said law, are dangerous for Islam and the independence of the country, and have been carried out either unintentionally or, God forbid, with malice aforethought.
Now that His Majesty has referred the learned `ulama’s request to the government, and has passed on the responsibility for dealing with this matter to your government, it is expected that, in compliance with the unassailable laws of Islam and the country, this matter be rectified as soon as possible, and that you are careful to avoid a repetition of anything similar.
If the honourable prime minister is uncertain about anything, he can do us the honour of visiting us here in Qum so that any ambiguity can be removed in his presence, and he can be notified of matters which are in the interests of the country but which cannot be put down on paper.
Finally, I would like to remind you that the learned `ulama of Iran and the major centres of Shi`ite learning, along with other Muslims, will not remain silent on issues that contravene the inviolable shari’a laws. Through the power and strength of Almighty God, issues that contravene Islam will not become official. (444)
20 October 1962 (28 Mehr 1341 AHS)
The opinion of the maraji’-i taqlid and the Grand Ayatullahs of the Qum religious seminary on the decree concerning the Provincial and County Council elections which opposed both shari’a and statute law.
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
There is no power and no strength save in God the Almighty
Because the government of Mr. `Alam has, by means of legislation, with surprising haste and without first giving due thought to the articles of the constitutional law, granted women the right to vote and be voted for in elections, it has become necessary to notify the Muslim nation of Iran of a few points so that they know under what conditions and what kind of governments they are living. Thus, we would like to draw the public’s attention to the following:
1 - The Interior Minister in a proposal presented to the Prime Minister wrote: “As you are well aware, in the preamble to the constitutional law it clearly stipulates that each citizen of the country is entitled to participate in the approval and supervision of public affairs, and according to Article 2 of the constitutional law, the National Consultative Assembly represents all the inhabitants of the country of Iran who participate in the political and economic affairs of their homeland.
Consequently, excluding the class of women from the voting process is not only impermissible according to the constitutional law and its supplement, but in view of the phrase ‘each citizen of the country’ in the preamble to the law and the phrase ‘all the inhabitants of the country’ mentioned in Article 2, it contravenes these as well.
The Cabinet has approved the deletion of paragraph one of Article 10 and paragraph two of Article 13 of the National Consultative Assembly Electoral Law, and also the qualification ‘male’ from Articles 6 and 9 of the Senate Electoral Law.”
Additionally, the Interior Ministry has been charged with the duty to obtain authorisation for this legislation when Parliament convenes. Thus it is necessary to explain the problems with the above argument.
a) - If the participation of women in elections can be reconciled with the constitutional law, as the Interior Minister and the Cabinet too apparently seem to think it can, then the approval of the Cabinet is meaningless, for it is as if they were approving the participation of men in the elections. If, on the other hand, it is correct to seek their approval, then it is obvious that in the opinion of the Cabinet the participation of women is at variance with the constitutional law.
b) - If the non-participation of women is in their eyes contrary to the constitutional law, then the Cabinet’s act of commissioning the Interior Minister to obtain authorisation for this legislation when the deputies convene has no basis, and if it needs authorisation, then it is obvious that the government views the participation of women as being contrary to the constitutional law. Wouldn’t it have been better had the Cabinet not employed a little thought and deliberation before introducing legislation which gives rise to such clear contradictions?
2 - The preamble to the constitutional law does not constitute a part of the law; it is simply the words of the shah of the time and does not carry any legal weight. However, the Interior Minister, either for want of sufficient deliberation or in order to deceive, has used it to draw his conclusions. However, had he studied it to the end before doing so, then it would have been made clear to him that according to that same preamble, women do not have the right to participate in elections because it is written therein: ‘Now that the National Consultative Assembly, in conformity with our holy intentions, has convened.’ This being the case, if the participation of women was envisaged, then how could the Parliament open ‘in conformity with our holy intentions’ without their presence?
So it is obvious that women did not have the right, and this phrase makes it clear that the first session of Parliament was held in conformity with the Shah’s intentions, for women did not participate.
3 - From the previous explanation it is evident that the meaning of ‘all the inhabitants of the country’ in Article 2, is not that which the Cabinet understands it to be. Rather its meaning is that the representative for Tehran represents the entire nation, as does the representative for Qum.
They do not represent their own constituency as stipulated in Article 30 of the supplement to the constitutional law. The reason behind this claim lies in the fact that more than ten classes of the population do not have the right to vote even though they also form ‘all the inhabitants of the country.’ Thus, they must accept that either depriving these other groups of participation is unconstitutional or the participation of women is.
4 - Supposing there is a mistake in the interpretation of this article, according to Article 27 of the Supplementary Constitutional Law, the explanation and interpretation of the law is one of the prerogatives of the National Consultative Assembly, which the ministers do not enjoy.
5 - It is the opinion of the government that women and other excluded groups have the constitutional right to participate in elections. Thus, from the beginning of the constitutional period up to the present all the parliaments have been formed in contravention of the constitutional law and were illegal because women and more than ten other groups have, according to the Electoral Law, not been allowed to participate, and this contravenes the constitutional law.
In this case it becomes necessary to point out many irregularities, which stem from that:
a) - All the laws effective in the country from the beginning of the constitutional period to the present were null and void and must be declared to be so.
b) - In the view of Mr. `Alam’s government, the Constituent Assemblies that have been convened were unconstitutional and were consequently null and void. According to the law, to make such a claim is a crime and the person making it must be indicted.
c) - The government of Mr. `Alam is illegal, as were all the governments formed since the beginning of the constitutional period up to the present. Consequently, an illegal government has no right to issue decrees or anything else, on the contrary its interference in the country’s affairs and its handling of the treasury is a crime and is subject to prosecution.
d) - According to the government of Mr. `Alam, all the agreements signed with foreign governments, among them oil agreements, are null and void, and this must be declared to be so to the nation.
6 - The deletion of the first paragraph of Article 10 and paragraph 2 of Article 13 of the National Consultative Assembly Electoral Law approved in Shawwal 1329 AS, and the deletion of the qualification ‘male’ from paragraphs 6 and 9 of the Senate Electoral Law approved on 14 Urdibihisht 1339 (4 May 1960), based on the preamble to the constitutional law and Article 2 of this law, is illegal, and the government has no right to do this because it itself has no basis in the law. Additionally, the government does not have the right to annul legislation approved by the Parliament, and according to the text of Article 28 of the Supplementary Constitutional Law, the executive power will always be separate and distinct from the legislative power.
This lists the illegal aspects of an illegal law. This law also contravenes Article 2 and Article 27 of the Supplementary Constitutional Law.
Despite the pressures and difficulties that the government has imposed and will further impose on them, and the insults that it will continue to hurl against them, the clergy consider it their religious and moral duty to point out to the Muslim governments and people both the advantages and the harm that may ensue from these actions.
They consider it incumbent on them not to withhold their friendly advice from the authorities and, in the face of this worrying suppression of the press and police repression, whereby people are carried off to prison and subjected to abuse and torture simply for printing or circulating a leaflet containing advice and guidance, to let mankind know what these actions portend for this poor, weak and hungry nation, the signs of which are already becoming apparent one after the other.
The clergy observe that the government has made the official religion of the country a plaything, and in meetings it allows it to be said that steps have been taken to establish equal rights for men and women. Islam has stipulated what action must be taken against anyone who, because of his belief in equal rights for women, annuls the unequivocal and mandatory laws of Islam concerning inheritance, divorce and the suchlike.
The clergy observe that the pillars of this country’s economy are crumbling; the market is on the verge of collapse as demonstrated by the ever-increasing number of files on bad debts. Likewise, the country’s agriculture is tottering on the brink of ruin because while each province of this country should be able to meet the agricultural needs of the whole land, bills for the import of wheat, or, as was said to be the case recently, for flour, are approved every so often on the plea of the possibility of a drought or some other excuse, thus making the land, along with Iranian mills, idle.
Faced with this deplorable situation, the government, instead of trying to find a solution, keeps itself and the people preoccupied with issues such as women’s franchise, with granting rights to women and bringing half the Iranian population into society and other such deceptions which will bring nothing but misery, corruption and fornication.
The gentlemen don’t realise that Islam shows a special regard for women in all aspects not found anywhere else. It has brought respect for their social and moral standing which prevents the kind of social mixing of the sexes that is incompatible with women’s modesty and virtue, and this is not because Islam thinks, God forbid, that they are legally incompetent or they are prisoners. Is entering these parliaments the only sign of them not being incompetent?
If such is the case then it must be said that all those in the land and naval forces, the officers and members of the security and police forces, the immediate members of the royal family and those under 20 years of age are also among the legally incompetent and prisoners.
In their declarations of 2-3 months ago, the clergy foresaw this turn of events you are witnessing today and predicted that similar incidents would happen in the future, and this they stated unequivocally therein.
Now too today, they announce an even greater danger and express their grave concern about what the consequences of these attacks on the shari’a law and the Constitution may mean for the independence and economy of this country, indeed for all aspects of this country’s life.
Consequently, the clergy hereby discharge the important duty they have in this matter, of which the entire nation is aware, and state most categorically that the government’s recently introduced legislation concerning the participation of women in elections has no legal force according to both the shari’a and the constitutional law.
Furthermore, despite suppression of the press, pressures brought to bear by the police and the prevention of the printing and publication of notices, such as this one, containing exhortations and facts, they will take steps to publish such notices to the best of their ability so that the governments cannot say we introduced legislation and the `ulama did not object. God willing, the clergy will take measures at the appropriate time to stop this law being practised.
The nation of Iran also opposes this kind of legislation, as demonstrated two-three months ago, when the pressure and intimidation were a little less, in the telegrams and communications sent from all around Iran in which they declared their acceptance of the Islamic `ulama’s authority and called for the annulment of the government’s illegal legislation concerning the Provincial and County Council Elections.
The government in turn acceded to the nation’s request and turned the matter over to the Parliament. However, now that it has gained sway over the nation through imprisonment, persecution and abuse of the clergymen and pious elements in society, the government is, with blatant disregard for the laws of Islam, the Constitution and electoral laws, adopting measures the consequences of which are dangerous and alarming for Islam and the Muslims.
May God awaken our governments from this sleep of ignorance and have mercy on the Muslim nation and country.
O Lord we complain to Thee for the loss of our Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his descendants, for the absence of our Imam, the multitude of our enemies, the fewness of our number and the domination of life and circumstances. Then greet Muhammad and his family, assist us in all affairs by quick victory from Thy side, to eradicate pain and ennui and to provide us with aid and power that Thou cherish, for you are the Lord and Master of rights to unveil. We are from God and to Him is our return.
Murtaza al-Husayni al-Langarudi, Ahmad al-Husayni al-Zanjani, Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’i, Muhammad al-Musawi al-Yazdi, Muhammad Riza al-Musawi al-Gulpaygani, Sayyid Kazim Shari’atmadari, Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khomeini, Hashim al-Amuli, Murtaza al-Ha’iri. (445)
March 1963 (Isfand 1341 AHS)
What is there for this "developed nation" to learn? What do you think? What's your opinion? Do you really think that words are sufficient? Can development result from sending a few women to the Majlis (Parliament)? Have the male members of the Majlis actually accomplished anything for you so far which leads you to believe that your women may now do so? We believe that sending women to the Majlis will result in nothing but immorality, and we believe that in ten, twenty or thirty years’ time you will see that we were right. We in no way oppose women's progress, but we do oppose fornication and other such sinful deeds. (446)
15 April 1964 (26 Farvardin 1343 AHS)
Those lords seated in their palaces speak of ‘the developed nation’; does a ‘developed nation’ die of starvation?! `Ali, upon whom be peace, the emir of Islam, used to eat barley bread, but now they spend five hundred thousand or one million tumans, if not more, for the receptions arranged in honour of their masters; and all they ever talk about is the ‘development’ programme! They maintain that our country is on a par with advanced countries, but how can the admission of a few women to Parliament cause a country to be developed? You won't put the country right by implementing Israel's policies. (447)
10 April 1964 (21 Farvardin 1343 AHS)
Claims made about equal rights for women
The ruling regime (of the Shah) in Iran infringed upon the holy Islamic laws and is now set to violate the unequivocal and mandatory laws of the Qur’an. The honour and dignity of the Muslims are about to be violated and through legislation, which contravenes shari’a, law and the Constitution, the tyrannical regime means to put chaste women to shame and humiliate the Iranian nation.
The tyrannical regime intends to introduce legislation and implement equal rights for men and women, in other words it means to trample underfoot the incontrovertible and mandatory laws of Islam and the Most Noble Qur’an. They want to force 18-year-old girls to do military service and drag them to the barracks. At the point of the bayonet they mean to force young, chaste Muslim girls into centres of fornication. (448)
1962 (1341 AHS)
They yet again espoused equal rights for women in all aspects, which means in effect trampling underfoot the unequivocal and mandatory laws of Islam and disclaiming some clear Qur'anic ordinances. Afterwards, they again saw that this was the cause of certain resentment, objection and difficulties and so once more they denied the issue; it was disclaimed by the minister in one place and by the commanding official in another.
In the press it was quite explicitly reported that women's conscription was in the process of being legislated. Nevertheless, when they saw that the matter gave rise to opprobrium and that the people and even the regime's henchmen were truly perturbed, again they said that it was a lie. Indeed, they wanted to open a lawsuit because of it - a most foolish, ludicrous intention. (449)
30 March 1962 (10 Farvardin 1341 AHS)
This year (1962) was a bad year because these events took place, and yet it was a good year because you gentlemen, by confronting oppression gave new life to Islam. Had you not shown resistance, God knows that by now they would have fully executed all of their evil schemes. It was your resistance which caused them to deny their former intentions, whereby they said: "Of course divorce is a man's prerogative, when did we ever say otherwise?"
Whilst one voice from the "People's Party" can be heard advocating full and equal rights, another voice from the other Party asks: "When did we say that divorce is a woman's prerogative?" Hence, on one occasion they espouse equality in all spheres of life, but on another they advocate something quite different. Again they speak in similar terms with regard to inheritance and women's conscription, advocating one thing one minute and denying it the next. As for women's conscription, we read about it in your (the Shah's) very own newspapers, which write whatever the security forces dictate to them. (450)
30 March 1962 (10 Farvardin 1341 AHS)
The clergy observe that the government has made the official religion of the country a plaything, and in meetings it allows it to be said that steps have been taken to establish equal rights for men and women. Islam has stipulated what action must be taken against anyone who, because of his belief in equal rights for women, annuls the unequivocal and mandatory laws of Islam concerning inheritance, divorce and the suchlike. (451)
March 1963 (Isfand 1341 AHS)
I must draw the honourable gentlemen’s attention to the past and present actions of the tyrannical regime. In the past, it abused Islam and the Qur’an, and tried to put the Qur’an in the same category as other misguided books. Now, with the announcement of equal rights, a number of the mandatory and unequivocal laws of Islam will be effaced. Recently, the justice minister abolished the requirement that judges be Muslim and male. (452)
April 1963 (Urdibihisht 1342 AHS)
The tyrannical regime imagined that with this talk about equal rights it could open the way for advancing its evil goal, which is to deliver the final blow to Islam. But they didn’t count on the reaction they would have to face. (453)
2 May 1963 (12 Urdibihisht 1342 AHS)
It is necessary for me to point out to the respected gentlemen that there is every indication the tyrannical regime intends to disregard mandatory and unequivocal Islamic laws and perhaps, God forbid, take even more drastic measures. Repeatedly in their meaningless, absurd speeches they have spoken openly about equal rights for men and women in all political and social aspects, which would involve changing some ordinances of the Most Noble Qur’an.
Yet when they came up against strong objections from the Muslims, they made excuses worse than the offence itself and hypocritically denied the whole issue. They don’t realise that we know them only too well, and have no confidence in what they say. (454)
2 May 1963 (12 Urdibihisht 1342 AHS)
. . . One thing is certain - if, gentlemen, you take a look at the Baha'i almanac of two or three years ago, you will read: "`Abdul Baha advocates equal rights for men and women"; and this is the line that has been adopted by them. Then the ignorant Mr. Shah also steps forward and talks of equal rights for men and women! You poor wretch, they have purposely set you up so that they can say that you are a Baha'i, and so that I in turn denounce you as an unbeliever and you are finally got rid of. Don't continue in this way. (455)
3 June 1963 (13 Khurdad 1342 AHS)
We have evidence that suggests that the tyrannical regime, due to its evil nature and to meet its own needs, is set on fundamentally destroying Islam. The armed attacks on the centres of religious jurisprudence; the aspersions cast on the good name of the maraji’ and the jurisprudents of Islam; the imprisonment and persecution of students of the Islamic schools; the disrespect shown the Most Noble Qur’an and other sacred things, all clearly point to this.
The announcement of equal rights for men and women in all aspects, the annulment of the requirement that candidates and electors must be Muslim and male, and the abolition of the same requirement for judges, are other patent signs. (456)
6 May 1963 (16 Urdibihisht 1342 AHS)
Beware the wrath of Almighty God. If because of your silence Islam is dealt a blow, you will be responsible before God and the Muslim nation. “Scholars must, through their knowledge, challenge a heresy, otherwise God’s curse will be upon them.”
Express you loathing for this equal rights idea and your repugnance for the participation of women in social affairs, which will give rise to numerous acts of corruption. Assist the religion of God and remember, “If ye will aid (the cause of) God, He will aid you and plant your feet firmly,” (Qur’an 40:7).
Do not let the police and others intimidate you, for they, like you, have a duty to perform and they are compelled to do what they do. If the truth be told, many of them actually support you and despise the regime. (457)
18 May 1963 (28 Urdibihisht 1342 AHS)