Tuesday, December 24, 2013


An architect's drawing of a bridge on a sheet of paper connecting two impassable land masses is an initial concept.
This is the first layer of the blueprint to create a connection between the two points. This initial layer, concept, require additional layers before the bridge could be built. Layers that would describe the geological situation, soil condition and requirements to anchor the bridge to the land. Furthermore there will be other layers to that blueprint describing the components of the bridge, the materials and engineering of those components. A blueprint is composed of these layers, a detail study, leading to the realization of that initial concept. Missing any layer of that blueprint is an obstacle to the construction of that bridge and lack of any layer needs to be evaluated critically.

After all these studies the bridge might not be built for all kinds of reasons. Now if one begins with this possible eventuality and abandons any initial concept, then there would not have been any bridges built. The concept of engaging women in the dealings of the Western democratic countries with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is similar. I wrote about this concept in my previous blog post and have written about the centrality of the women's rights when dealing with the IRI multiple times.

The concept is simple, the majority of posts conducting diplomatic or other functions with Iran and are representatives of the democratic countries should be led by women dressed professionally as they would conduct their work in their own countries, no hijab or head cover. Equality of rights for women is legal under the UN conventions and IRI opposition to it is illegal. This is a simple concept, the first layer, of a potential policy. Obviously there are multiple obstacles on the path of this idea in gaining the force of an adopted policy.

Today, adoption of such a policy by the western democratic countries is very unlikely, because the women rights in Iran is not of their material interest. Their interest is focused to thwart the IRI's access to a nuclear bomb and probably they do not want to rock the boat of 5+1 engagement with the IRI. We need to engage and lobby the leaders of these countries about the necessity for the adoption of such a policy but as always politicians will not move without the public opinion behind them. To engage the public opinion we need the secular Iranian activists.

Why the secular Iranian activists and particularly Iranian women are not promoting this idea. Without them this idea will not go much further from its initial conception. What is holding them back? For one, leftist illusions and "anti-imperialism" persists among them. In particular recount of Iranian "independence" that was undermined by the 1953 coup, toppling of Mossadegh's government is an "anti-imperialist" story that they share with the IRI. From this vintage point appeal to the western countries which in the mind of many activists are considered "imperialists", "colonialists" is revolting. In a way these activists continue to submit the real interests of women to their ideological premonitions. Therefore promotion of women's right in Iran and its connection to the already gained rights of women in the west will be tied one way or another with the work of dispelling these illusions.

Therefore while we need to contact the governing bodies of the democratic countries for the adoption of this policy. We need to explain to the Iranian activists that they do not have any common interest with the IRI. Particularly to the youth among these activist we need to explain that their "shared" experience with the IRI is merely an illusion that only undermines their struggle for democracy and freedom.

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