Iran forbids men and women who are unrelated from one another chatting online, for what presents itself as a comprising of sinister purposes, as the state previously declared to loosen their control over people’s private lives. Basic human rights are being neglected and it is almost certain this is to keep restraints on women rather than men.
Women in Iran face ever-dilating discrimination. They do not have equal rights to men when looked upon by the law, or in circumstances of marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Iranian Human Rights Defenders (HRDs), are continuously battling with these injustices, and risk their lives every day in order to fight for equality. Many women’s rights defenders have been arrested and prosecuted, which ultimately acts as a device to limit their freedom of expression and association.
Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islāmic revolution, has declared a religious edict which bans men and women who are unrelated, from chatting online. It’s purpose is based upon “immorality”, and was issued days after WeChat was blocked, a messaging app similar to Whatsapp, that allows users to access a wide range of social networking.
Although the conditions for Iranian women are improving, for example the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, is supporting the fashion movement of women’s clothing that incorporates western styles into the traditional, this seems only to be a materialistic façade. Iran also has the highest rate of nose jobs universally, but again this is only the first layer of human rights issues. As Iran forbids men and women who are unrelated from chatting online, with what seems to be for sinister purposes as a form of inflicting supreme control, the flailing ability for a private life becomes emphasized.
The reasoning of “immorality” for passing this decree, has been argued against by some Iranian officials. However, despite this the ruling went ahead, and authorities in Tehran have also recently placed restrictions on other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, in fear of future disruption to the law.
This allegation of potential rebellion implies that the restraints imposed on human rights are a way to maintain the rules and regulations already in place, such as the supremacy of men. Therefore, one result of this ban will be to stop women conversing with men, and finding other partners other than the one’s their families accept, as the majority of marriages in Iran are arranged (with the children’s consent). However, a recent report has revealed an estimation of 850,000 young girls, some as young as 9 or 10, are given to an “elderly man” in payment of a debt.
Iran recently also passed a law that allowed men to marry their adopted daughters as young as 13. In terms of “immorality” this surely reaches new heights of corruption. If Iran allows girls to be married at such a young age, women and men should undoubtedly be permitted to talk on the internet. If anything, these laws should be reversed and marrying adopted daughters at 13 should be made illegal.
As Iran forbids men and women who are unrelated from chatting online, it exposes a ruling for sinister purposes. There is no reason why men and women should be stopped from chatting online, and although there have been many negative impacts, such as instances of sexual predators who use it to their advantage, being able to use the internet as you wish is a basic human right. All people should be given the authority to make their own decisions when it comes to social networking, disregarding young children, and this type of totalitarianism governing should not be overlooked.
Opinion by Melissa McDonald