The Impact of Massoud Pezeshkian’s Presidency on Women’s Rights in Iran

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The presidential election in Iran was won by Massoud Pezeshkian, probably the moment for a change in both the political and social spheres, especially women’s rights in the land. During his campaigning, Pezeshkian had assured the public that he would do various things as part of his efforts toward solving challenges that beset Iranian women.

The question that naturally emerges at this juncture, against the backdrop of recent happenings and women struggling in Iran, is: Will advancement and real change come into the country, especially for women, under the presidency of Massoud Pezeshkian?

Problems Confronted by Iranian Women

Women are leading some of the most critical social and political changes in Iran. One powerful expression of this desire for change is that the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement, initially erupted in the Iranian Kurdistan after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. The series of events that followed her death—while in custody by morality police due to reportedly insufficient respect for hijab laws—brought countrywide protests and international condemnation.

These protests were met with very tough government crackdowns in Iran, accompanied by lots of arrests and acts of violence against protesters. This led to an urgent call for reforms that protected the rights of women and ensured their safety.

Massoud’s Promises to Women

Massoud Pezeshkian made some campaign promises touching on several critical problems concerning women in Iran. Among his commitments are:

Easing of Hijab Rules

Pezeshkian vows to ease the strict laws binding on hijab. This would give more liberty to choice for women and put them in an advantageous position about possible clashes with the authorities.

Disbanding morality police

The most important and invaluable promise by Pezeshkian during the election campaign was the abolition of the morality police. As an agency, it has meanly been at the very top in enforcing strict observance of dress codes and other moralistic laws, many a time ending in harassment and detention for women.

Gender Equality

Pezeshkian has come out to claim his belief in gender equity and the empowerment of women. He has condemned discrimination against minority groups, promising to strive toward an all-inclusive society with a regard for the rights of women.

Dialogue with the West

He believes that open dialogue with Western countries should be opened, and in so doing, improve the economy of Iran, which had huge blows due to economic sanctions. The improved economy would increase opportunities for women in education and the workforce.

Massoud Presidency

Now, if Massoud delivers what he has promised, then women’s rights in Iran may turn for the better. Easing hijab restrictions and abolishing the morality police would strike at some of the most burning issues Iranian women have been talking about. This would reduce cases of state violence and harassment.

Moreover, Pezeshkian’s attitude toward gender equality and minority rights reflects a more general commitment to facing up to system-based discrimination and fostering inclusivity. This could result in legislative and social change, improving the status of women in all walks of life, from education and employment to political participation.

In any case, the success of the reforms being undertaken by Pezeshkian is going to depend on many aspects. At home, he will have to undermine these power structures, which are almost all in the hands of ruling conservatives, especially the Parliament. Most importantly, internationally, the geopolitical balance may change because of the return of Donald Trump to power in the United States. Sometimes, he was bound to complicate efforts at the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal towards easing economic sanctions.

Massoud Pezeshkian’s presidency has opened new opportunities for the betterment of the conditions of women in Iran. Indeed, some of the most relevant issues are featured in his campaign commitments and express a more progressive vision for the future of the country.

If Pezeshkian succeeds in his projects and surmounts internal and external barriers to administration, his term may be the relief and progress Iranian women need to live in a more just and equal society.

Realizing these promises will take relentless effort, political navigation of challenges in strategic ways, and sustained advocacy.

Soukaina Sghir

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