Tuesday, 2 February 2016

What the jailing of a 28 year-old artist says about Iran’s plan to double its population

Atena Farghadani is simply the first, but certainly not the last casualty of Iran’s goal to double its population through the systematic repression of its women: The story of jailed 28-year old Iranian artist Atena Farghadani exposed an otherwise-unaware world to a planned feat of social engineering in Iran whose ambition is only matched by its malevolence.

Encouraged by the interest we received in yesterday’s issue of our highlighting Farghadani’s 12-year prison sentence over her drawing of this cartoon depicting the Iranian legislature as animals, we’ve taken another look both at her story and at the legislation she was critiquing, and the results are disturbing, to say the least. Setting aside that Farghadani was subjected to a virginity test for the indecent “crime” of shaking her male lawyer’s hand, her larger struggle to expose the quiet dismantling of all the gains Iran’s women made through the country’s family planning program is a tragedy of an individual being destroyed by the system.

The story began with former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for an end to Iran’s family planning program as early as 2006, calling instead to double the country’s population. These calls were eventually taken quite seriously by others in the Iranian leadership, with Ayatollah Khamenei declaring in 2014: “We are not a country of 75 mn, we have the capacity to become at least 150 mn people, if not more.”

With that, the wheels were set in motion for the passing of a set of complementary bills: the Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446), and the Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill (Bill 315), both of which Atena targeted with her cartoon. Both pieces of legislation have now already been passed in principle, with the Iranian legislature hammering out the details of their incredibly costly implementation.

What do the pieces of legislation entail? Bill 446 has already partially come into effect, resulting in the complete defunding of Iran’s family planning program. Bill 315, however, delivers the death blow to Iran’s women. Among the bill’s provisions, according to Amnesty International (pdf):

  • Article 9 mandates the public and private sector commit to the preferential hiring of individuals in the following order: men with children, married men without children, followed lastly by women with children.
  • Articles 10 and 16 prohibit the hiring of unmarried men and women for teaching positions and bar them from practicing family law.
  • Most disturbing of all, judges will be given financial bonuses for ruling against divorce in cases tried before them in the courts, in an attempt to force couples to accept reconciliation instead. This consequently means thousands if not eventually mns of Iranian women will be coerced into staying in abusive marriages.

The goal of doubling the Iranian population is seen by their leadership as a key element in their geopolitical strategy for establishing regional domination, as explained in the following reading in the UK’s Foreign Affairs Review by Holly Fathi. (Read Iran’s Population Machine)

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.