After Mahsa Amini’s death, the streets of Iran became lively. Vakanunis wrote about historical events in Iran in which women played the leading role.
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Protests continue in Iran over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the “Morality Police”, which enforces the “mandatory headscarf laws”.
While the number of people who lost their lives in the protests is approaching 20, it is stated that the demonstrations, in which around 500 people were injured, spread to 15 cities. Along with recent events, the difference between Iran’s not-so-distant history and its present is also striking.
What is not different is that women play the leading roles in both historical sections…
The British agent had put Baba Pahlavi in the “game”
In the long centuries-old history of Iran; “with the discovery of oil resources”The Pahlavi Dynasty, which emerged with the overthrow of the Qajar Dynasty in the early 1900s, had put the country in a radical modernization process.
Reza Pahlavi, who was introduced to the British through the Great British agent Sir Ardeshir J. Reporter, started working for Great Britain in 1921, was made Prime Minister in 1923, and in 1925. “The Shah of Iran” had been announced.
Reza Pahlavi, who gained a significant amount of land from Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia with the help of the British, started socio-cultural arrangements quickly after he came to power, and acted in line with the interests of England in the economy, especially in oil production.
He called the sheet “black shroud”
Baba Pahlavi, “Iranian modernization”He was directed to do it on women. He first sent women to study abroad, and then removed the barriers to their entry to Tehran University.
In the same years, heavy fines were imposed on cinemas, restaurants and hotels that did not open their doors to both genders and did not provide mixed services. In the 1930s, Reza Pahlavi had also begun to remove the headscarf worn by women for centuries, with police measures.
Pahlavi, who showed a special reaction to the chador, “black shroud” He even authorized the police to raid houses for the sheets he said. he founded “Ladies Center” Pahlavi, who turned the opposition to the veil into a nationwide campaign, was going to announce that the veil was also banned at a meeting in Tehran College. For women and men with a law enacted afterwards “Obligation to wear western clothes” had been brought.
The law also included the obligation for men to wear a fedora. The sombrero, which prevented bending over the small stone in prostration during prayer, was one of the practices that attracted the most reaction.
Baba Pahlavi, who hardened his rule even more when strong reactions started against such policies, once beat a clergyman with his cane when he was visiting the city of Qom, warning him because his wife’s hair was showing.
“My grandmother did not go out for years because her veil was forced to be removed”
Haleh Esfandiari, who left the country after the regime change in Iran and worked as an academic in the USA and returned to Iran years later to study Iranian women, explained in an interview the traumas caused by Baba Pahlavi in society, especially in women, through her own tradition. he explained as follows:
“My grandmother refused to leave the house from the day the veil was lifted until the day Reza Shah left the country. My grandmother belonged to the upper class, so she had the means to stay at home and not go out. But ordinary Iranian women who did not have this opportunity were forced to abandon the veil and take to the streets humiliated.”
The British said, “Get out,” his grave was moved three times.
The fact that the Shah put chairs in mosques would overflow the glass, so a large-scale rebellion broke out in Mashhad. Rather than stepping back a bit, the regime toughened the practices, enforcing decisions such as men bringing their wives with their heads uncovered when going out into the public sphere.
Meanwhile, II. In the conditions of World War II; The Soviets and the British, who occupied many parts of Iran, had decided on a partial change of administration in Iran for the post-war period.
The harsh policies of the Shah made the work of the British easier and they pressured Baba Pahlavi to abdicate in favor of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, whom they saw as milder. The letter the British sent to the Shah was as follows:
“Can Your Majesty abdicate in favor of his son, his heir? We have a high opinion of him and will secure his position, but His Highness should not think there is any other solution.”
Reza Pahlavi, who also agreed to go into exile upon the developments, settled in Mauritius, the colonial island off the African coast. Reza Pahlavi, who then settled in Johannesburg, South Africa, died on 26 July 1944 after a heart attack. After his death, his body was taken to Egypt, where he was mummified and kept in a mosque. In May 1950, the remains were sent to Iran, their mummies were dismantled, in his name. “large” He was buried in a mausoleum built in Ray with his title added.
However, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran, his body was sent back to Egypt. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who came to power by agreeing with the British after the developments, was an extremist modernizer just like his father. His son Pahlavi, like his father, carried out the modernization through women, with an approach that decided what women should or should not wear.
“Women Supporting the Declaration of Human Rights”Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who pioneered the establishment of the Women’s Organization, later formed the Supreme Council of Women’s Organizations and brought his sister to the head. The Board had started to work primarily on women’s suffrage. The first female judges were also appointed during the period, and Şirin Ebadi, one of them, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 by the Nobel Committee.
Pahlavi’s first female minister was shot
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi introduced new regulations, including the abolition of a penalty for abortion, in the 1960s and 70s, and aimed to make women more visible in social life, along with his other policies.
As a result of the practices in this direction, in 1977, the higher education system was arranged in such a way that one out of every three university students would be a female student. In the same years, 22 women entered the parliament and women ministers began to be appointed.
In addition, undersecretaries, governors, ambassadors began to be appointed from among women, and women were elected as mayors in five places. Farrukhorra Parsa, the first female minister appointed by the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was executed by shooting in May 1980 after Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had increased his rigid secular programs, especially since the 1970s. Opposition, which was previously underground, became increasingly visible due to its tyrannical politics of modernization and secularization, its rapprochement with Israel, its support for the power of the USA and Britain, its conflict with the traditional merchant class, and corruption issues related to itself, his family, and the ruling elite.
While his banning of the Communist Tudeh Party ensured the alliance of communists and religious circles, the brutal operations of the intelligence organization SAVAK on the dissidents also set off alarm bells for the Shah.
He fled the country in haste like his father.
By 1979, the political opposition seized power. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced to leave Iran on January 16. Later, the monarchy was ended in the country and a republic was declared under the leadership of Imam Khomeini. Sentenced to death in absentia, the Shah died in 1980 in Egypt, where he was considered a political refugee.
When the administration changed in 1979, women thought that the freedom in the environment would reflect on them. However, over time; As was done to conservative women who faced secular impositions in the past, this time they want to stay secular or at least “Islamic framework” Iranian women, who aimed to take part in daily life, began to face the harsh restrictions of the new administration.
In the final analysis, Iranian women; progressed very rapidly and aggressively in the past years. “Westernization”He resisted against the government, took sides with religious groups during the change of administration, but after the regime change, this time he was the leader of the administration. “religious reasons” faced pressure.
Although there were stretches in these policies during the process, the individual pressures that were seen from time to time caused discontent. Here, the latest events that started in the person of Mahsa Amini, who lost her life, erupted in such a social memory, background and ground.
– George Liston Seay, Dialogue Program, Interview with Haleh Esfandiari: “Women and the Iranian Islamic Revolution”, Wilson Center Radio, 13 October 1997
– Encyclopdia Iranica, Article “Feminist Movements – Pahlavi Era”