Tehran, 30 Apr – A woman has received 100 lashings in the town of Golpayegan, central Iran. State-run Serat News Agency reported the punishment on 27 April. Najafali Alyan, the government’s prosecutor in the town, said the lashings were punishment for adultery.
The woman, only identified as S.T., is currently serving a 15-year prison term for an alleged role in the murder of her husband in 2012. This is the first time in years that state media has reported the public flogging of a woman. It comes as the Iranian government has increased its policing of women. Around 7,000 undercover ‘morality police’ have been deployed to Tehran in recent weeks. They are tasked with reporting ‘mal-veilling’ as well as noise pollution or wearing make-up.
Human rights activist Farideh Karimi of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) issued a strong condemnation:
“The public flogging of a woman in Iran is a new misogynist measure by the Rouhani government, which is extremely disturbing and abhorrent. The women politicians from the West who visit Iran should reconsider such outreaches and their impact in emboldening the regime in its attitude”.
Karimi went on to say that:
“In view of the new wave of suppression of women in Iran, we urge women’s rights activists and organizations to stand up and speak out against the mullahs’ misogynist policies”.
Iran is beginning its process of re-integration to the global economy. Trade deals and meetings with European leaders have gone ahead despite the evident disdain the Iranian government has for human rights. The recent wave of repression could be construed as a means of insulating patriarchal and theological power structures in the face of the progressive politics that may accompany renewed investment.
However the reluctance to step on toes by European leaders has meant that human rights come second to economic ties and deals.