Iranian presidential candidate and apparent frontrunner Saeed Jalili gave a speech on Wednesday at a women’s conference in which he discussed his views on women’s role in society.
In differentiating between the Western and Islamic societies, Jalili said that “The base is with the family. And [in] the meetings and seminars conducted with the supreme leader, what shapes a society is not the individual, but the family.” He continued, “The differing views bring about different effects. Western thought says that an individual’s capacity in society must viewed from a cost-benefit approach because women are half of the population and half of the work force cannot be ignored, and they must be used to move the economy; they’ve even passed laws based on this thought. The structure of their society has taken shape based on this view.”
In explaining his view on Iranian society, Jalili said that “Based on the interpretations of the supreme leader, the presence of women in society must be combatant and revolutionary in the various fields, and the most important act of cultural resistance for a woman takes place at the home.”
Jalili continued, “There is a big difference between the West’s humiliating view of women, and their use of women as an object, and lowering women’s dignity to the point of using her for economic means, with the view that Islam has for women. Based on this, we must defend the rights of women across the world, especially in the West.” He continued, “Just as the West has been creating and pushing their view of a how woman’s abilities are used for the last 300 years, we must not delay and indeed must hurry in defining Islamic discourse with respect to women according to our advanced and revolutionary views.”
Females outnumber males in Iranian universities, and Iranian women have some of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East. In the last several years, women’s rights have seen some new restrictions. In 2012, women were barred from studying in specific programs at universities. Some believe that the focus of women’s roles in the home and limitations on education are an effort by Iranian authorities to combat Iran’s declining birth rates and increasing divorce rates.
Denial of Soleimani’s Support of Ghalibaf Is Itself Denied
Yahii Jafaari, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the province of Kerman, said on Sunday that the Ghassem Soleimani, head of the Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) Quds Force, is supporting Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf in Iran’s presidential election. The Quds Force is a special unit within Sepah that is in charge of operations outside of Iran’s borders. Soleimani, known as Haj Ghassem, is believed to play a major role in Iran’s influence in Iraq.
After accusations of Sepah’s interference in previous elections and the “engineering of elections” Sepah spokesman Ramizan Sharif reportedly denied the endorsement. However, on Tuesday, Sharif denied that he had ever denied Soleimani’s endorsement of Ghalibaf.
Sharif said of those quoting his denial of Soleimani’s endorsement of Ghalibaf that “I never used such an expression, and this affair is the mistake of the media. My words were in general terms and about the fact that Sepah as an organization would not interfere in the elections.”
Ghalibaf is a former commander in Sepah himself and it is believed that he and Soleimani are close.