Forty years on, gays are still hanged and women repressed

February 03, 2019

Above, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini steps down from the Air France plane that brought him back to Iran after 15 years of exile, on Feb. 1, 1979



[Note by Tom Gross]

This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the events that ushered in the Islamic revolution in Iran, a revolution that is still with us today. It continues to bring death and mayhem across the Middle East and beyond, it represses woman and it murders homosexuals.

Only last week another gay man was publicly hanged in Teheran and yet the British, French and German governments, so eager to do business
with the Mullahs of Tehran, have refused to properly condemn the hanging of gays, and instead are busy trying to undermine the Trump administration’s aim of undermining the regime – a policy by Trump that almost everyone in the Middle East supports – Iranian, Arab, Kurd and Jew alike.

As Iranian-born (American exiled) journalist Sohrab Ahmari writes in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal:

“The Islamic Republic turns 40, having survived a grinding eight-year war with Iraq, prolonged international isolation, massive student protests in 1999 and the 2009 Green Movement, as well as the winter uprising of 2017. It is now fighting wars on several fronts, from the Arabian Peninsula to Mesopotamia and the Levant. Yet it persists.”

There are many Iranians on this list, including Sohrab Ahmari and the daughter of the second most important Ayatollah who fled the regime and denounced it as a living hell. In conversations I regularly have with them, their views are often more anti-regime than even the publicly expressed views of Benjamin Netanyahu or Donald Trump.



A key to the regime’s grip in Iran is the oppression of women.

Before 1979, women in Iran (and Afghanistan) enjoyed many of the same freedoms as women in America and Europe.

Above is a picture of some Iranian magazine covers from the 1970s.



I’ve posted this video before: Hundreds of Iranian women defystrict rules requiring them to cover their heads in public, by sending photos of themselves without headscarves to a special Facebook page. They face arrest if identified. They quickly put their hijabs back on after taking the photos.


Former Empress of Iran Farah Diba Pahlavi, and Tom Gross



I recently had a very engaging conversation with the widow of the late Shah, Farah Diba Pahlavi, about life in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s. We also discussed Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Iranian-Israel relations and other matters. (The conversation was private so I won’t disclose details here.)

Just to be clear, I don’t support a return to monarchy in Iran. (Or at any rate if the Shah’s son did return, a British style parliamentary democracy where the monarch is largely a figurehead.)

Here is a video marking Empress Farah Diba Pahlavi's 80th Birthday last October.


The Empress was also heartened to see photos of the pre-1979 Iranian flags still on display in Tel Aviv.

Above, me at an Iranian-Israeli restaurant in south Tel Aviv. While shouts of “Death to Israel” are often heard in regime-organized protests in Iranian cities, in Israel Iranian flags are placed alongside Israeli ones, and Persian is written alongside Hebrew.



In at least some Middle East countries, women are making advances. Above, a photo of female Egypt Air pilots in Cairo last week.

In Israel, Muslim women continue to make advances in many areas of life, including politics. This includes a female Muslim candidate standing for the Likud party Knesset list for this April’s general election.

-- Tom Gross


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