Friday, May 31, 2013

Iran Election: Who to Follow

I've been quite busy finishing up my papers so I won't be writing much on the Iranian Presidential Election until I finish. It is really tough since it is quite interesting and lots of important things have been happening.

In brief the focus by the candidates on nuclear and economic issues is telling. These coincidentally are the same things that Western powers have also been focused on, despite the more obvious and presently troubling Syria conflict, human rights abuses and natural disasters (the recent spate of earthquakes in Iran has more or less resulted in a failure to address the significant problem of nuclear safety at Iran's facilities, not to mention building standards for residential or commercial properties in Iran).

Anyway, I thought I would instead link to other sources which will be writing and tweeting so here goes:

Al Monitor's Iran Pulse
Enduring America's Election Guide
Enduring America's Iran Section
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Iran News Now
Meir Javedanfar (Iranian-Israeli analyst)

Twitter Feeds:
Dr. Saeed Jalili Nuclear negotiator and current presidential candidate
Hashemi Rafsanjani long-time regime insider, now sidelined
Hassan Rouhani "moderate" presidential candidate
BBC Persian Persian language tweets, but not just on Iran
Thomas Erdbrink NYT Tehran Bureau Chief
Khamenei Official twitter of the Iranian Supreme Leader, tweets in Persian, English, Arabic, Spanish and other languages
Jason Rezaian Washington Post reporter in Tehran

Friday, May 24, 2013

Religious Minorities in the Iranian Majles

UPDATE: Looks like the news articles were wrong and there were not 14 seats given to religious minorities, but the normal 5. The original article claiming 14 religious minorities were elected was removed from one of the official Iranian sites. Looks like it was just a mistranslation which other news organizations latched on to and then did not bother to fix when the correct information came out. In either case it is interesting to see how they deal with minorities who according to this are persecuted against.

There are several countries in the world that assign certain positions of government to specific ethnicities or population groups, such as Lebanon, and Bosnia. Others like Iran, assign seats in parliament to religious minorities. In the case of Iran, the 290 seat Majles (Parliament) also contains 5 mandatory spots; 2 for Armenians, 1 for Assyrians/Chaldeans (Catholic), 1 for Jews, and 1 for Zoroastrians. This can be quite beneficial especially when there are issues with religious minorities being persecuted, so having a guaranteed spot for a minority like this can afford them some form of protection. 

In 2012 the election was billed as a battle between various factions of the conservatives who were divided between those loyal to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nezhad. The Supreme Leader, with absolute authority as designated by the Iranian constitution (revised in 1989 after Ayatollah Khomeini's death), by all accounts won, and was able to take seats away from factions supportive of President Ahmadi-Nezhad. 

Locating accurate election data figures from Iran is as easy as performing successful brain surgery without going to medical school. Because of this, the poorly referenced Wikipedia "facts" will have to suffice for the purposes of this blog (UPDATE: it is now clear that they are incorrect). Even if the results are inaccurate on Wikipedia (they are), there are multiple news articles corroborating the claim that 14 of the 290 Majles representatives are from religious minorities (this article insinuates that there currently are 5 spots for religious minorities but there will be 14 in the next election, however this apparently is a bad translation). 

Iran is approximately 99% Muslim (90% Shia and 9% Sunni), and over 2% of the seats of the Majles go to about half of 1% of the total population. These 'Religious Minorities' vote on a DIFFERENT DAY than other voters and apparently are not allowed to 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Note on Article 115 of the Iranian Constitution

Another excerpt from my paper on Islamic Feminism in Iran in the wake of the announcement by Ayatollah Yazdi (via Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times's Twitter page) saying that all 12 women who registered for the Iranian Presidential Elections will be disqualified.

... Article 115 of the Iranian constitution states that only a man is allowed to become president[i]. While this is somewhat problematic as the vote for president should theoretically be a democratic affair, the biggest problem is the reasoning for this ruling. Initially it was decided that the reference in the Koran that leaders should be rajol (an Arabic word meaning "man" also transliterated as rejal) meant that the president must be a man[ii]. This is problematic as rajol is often a gender-neutral term and in Arabic literature it can mean "woman", "mankind", or "personality"[iii]. Persian is more or less a genderless language and a term such as rajol can cause difficulties, as gender indicated within the word may not mean the same thing in Persian and in Arabic. Faezeh Rafsanjani the daughter of the influential former President Rafsanjani considers this law to be hypocritical as women are allowed to run other governmental departments, but not the office of the presidency[iv].

[i] Ahmadi, 2006, p.48
[ii] Ibid, p. 48
[iii] Ibid, p. 48
[iv] Via Ahmadi, citing Azadeh Kian-Thiébaut, “Islamist and Secular Women Unite: Iranian Women Take on the Mullahs,” Le Monde Diplomatique (November 1996),

UPDATE 1: Spoken to several Arabic speakers, and consulted my Arabic dictionary and the definition of Rajol as anything other than "man" seems increasingly unlikely. The dictionary does have the plural of Rajol (rijal, rijalat) as "important men or great personalities", but to me this is an implied masculine. Rejal in Persian is "men, statesmen, distinguished men, dignitaries, personages, V.I.P.s" I am uncertain why Ahmadi has claimed this with such authority, but as she is the one with the Ph.D. and I am not, I will have to differ to her.

Rafsanjani and Religious Titles in Iran

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has long been my favorite living character from the Islamic Revolution because of how complex a character he is and how he has been involved in so many significant incidents in the past. I started to follow him in earnest just over two years ago as part of an assignment I had for a class. What caught my attention in all of the articles I read about him was that Mr. Rafsanjani was occasionally referenced at "Hojatoeslam", and other times as "Ayatollah". I had previously attended a pair of lectures from the brilliant Robert Gleave of Exeter on the Hawza (Shia religious seminary), who explained the background for the structure of the Shia religious educational system, and it did not make sense to me that there would not be a singular title for him.

The Hawza is set up in a fairly similar to a university in many ways, minus some of the red tape, and administration. The most well-learned clerics teach courses to others in whatever their specialities happen to be (for example Ayatollah Khomeini was particularly skilled in studies of Mysticism and it is likely that he taught courses on this), and like university professors, are paid a small amount in return. Where the process differs from a modern university is that the requirements to reach the next "level" of scholarship are not as concrete as in Western education systems. There is no final exam or specific set of requirements. Rather the instructor or instructors judge you based upon how far you have progressed in your studies, how well you understand the material and how much scholarly work you have produced. (According to Professor Gleave some portions of this process are actually changing and some hawzas are even giving certificates similar to a diploma)

The top four levels of Shia scholarship in descending order are Marja-e Taqlid/Grand Ayatollah (source of emulation), Ayatollah (sign of Allah/God), Hojatoeslam (proof/authority of Islam), and Mujtahid (one capable of Ijtihad). Ijtihad is the idea that individuals who have enough background and understanding of the Quran and Hadith and are able to interpret the laws of Islam.

One of the controversies which the Islamic Republic faced in the late 1980s is that Ayatollah Khomeini (By this point he was one of the most learned Shia clerics in the world so calling him a Marja-e Taqlid is probably more accurate, despite the convention of calling him simply Ayatollah), was ill and once he died, they needed to have a replacement for him. The version of Velayat-e Faqih (rule of the jurisprudent, or simply clerical rule) which the Khomeini based his rule upon, called for a highly educated Ayatollah (by default with many followers) to be the leader of the Islamic Republic. 

Unfortunately for him, there were no other Marja-e Taqlids or even Ayatollahs who supported this idea. Even at the formation of the Islamic Republic 5 of the 6 top Marjas (2 actively opposed it, and 3 were neutral) did NOT support the idea of Velayat-e Faqih, with Khomeini being the one exception. Ayatollah Montazeri who had been "promoted" to Marja-e Taqlid during his tenure as "Deputy Supreme Leader" had broken with Khomeini over human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic (amongst other issues), and he was the highest ranking cleric who also supported the idea of Velayat-e Faqih

Khomeini's legacy was in danger, and because there was not a clear replacement candidate, many speculated that there would be perhaps a council of clerics leading the Islamic Republic. Strangely enough, Hojatoeslam Khamenei (then the President of Iran) was quickly "promoted" to Ayatollah and picked as the replacement. One of his contemporaries, Hojatoeslam Rafsanjani was in a similar position (Speaker of the Majles at the time), and had worked together with Khamenei to discredit Montazeri. Khamenei had been referred to in the Persian press as "Hojatoeslam" right up to the point when he was finally "promoted" to Ayatollah. At the same time the regime controlled-press tried to discredit Montazeri (who was clearly more learned than Khamenei) and used disparaging words for him (he may have even been referred to as Hojatoeslam, a rank 2 levels below what the press had previously given him). 

Rafsanjani has ended up with the short end of the stick after Khamenei became the Supreme Leader of Iran. It must have been incredibly frustrating for Rafsanjani to be more or less equal with Khamenei and then end up with nothing (the Presidency from 1989-1997 was not much of a reward as he still had to answer to Khamenei's absolute authority). Rafsanjani and Khamenei (who is a few years younger) had worked so that someone they both disliked would not gain power, and Rafsanjani was the force behind promoting Khamenei as Supreme Leader. After Rafsanjani gave some support to the reformists during the 2009 Green Revolution protests, he was no longer referred to as Ayatollah in the press, but Hojatoeslam, and his sons and daughters were persecuted against (Mehdi and Faezeh were arrested, and Mohsen was forced from his position as head of the Tehran Metro as I mentioned here). 

Today Rafsanjani is likely to be called either Ayatollah or Hojatoeslam, depending on how the person feels about him. Unlike in the Hawzas of Najaf or other places outside Iran where Islam and politics are often separated to a greater extent than in Iran, the titles given to religious figures may be representative of political-religious authority, rather than a recognition of Islamic scholarship. When someone is given a title, it is just as likely that this is a symbol of political power as it is that this person has actually extensively studied theological issues in the Hawza. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has not spent much of his time in the last 30 years working on religious issues, he has been running the country and his pistachio business. Doesn't it make sense that he should be the same "rank" as before unless he has actually produced religious scholarship and been active in the seminary? It can be incredibly frustrating, but on the bright side it is easy to tell how a particular newspaper (and therefore whoever runs the paper) feels about a particular person by what title is bestowed upon them.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Creation of a "Fact"

A few days ago I saw a link to a blog posted on Twitter claiming that Stephen Hawking was hypocritical for boycotting Israel, because he had travelled to Iran and China, two internationally recognized human rights violators. While I disagree with Hawking's refusal to travel to Israel (the fact that Israeli technology made the computer chip that allows him to communicate is particularly frustrating), I was curious about the trips to China and in particular to Iran. The author of the blog claimed that Hawking had gone to the July 2007 Physics Olympiad held that year in Tehran. I searched for the following "Stephen Hawking International Physics Olympiad Iran". On the very first page there was a .pdf for the "38th international physics olympiad, iran 2007", hosted on a Canadian website (Since then it has moved down from the top of the page to the bottom due to the smear articles showing up higher). I clicked on the link, performed a search for the text string "Hawking". There was one match:

"Stephen Hawking was even expected to talk during the Olympiad before medical reasons prevented him to travel."

So unless this is a lie, or the page was doctored in some way, it appears impossible for Stephen Hawking to have attended the conference, unless he was hidden in the back somewhere and no one saw him.

I did not make a big deal about it at the time because frankly its a minor issue, and the blog it was posted on is unimportant. Since then, the Jerusalem Post has posted an article by Alan Dershowitz using this blog as proof that Hawking's visit occurred, despite the fact that I could spend 30 seconds of my life doing simple research and discovering that this "fact" is not true.

Similar to the nonsense about the Iron Dome that was spread by poor research methodologies and then thrown all around by the major news outlets (debunked by me here), a simple lack of basic understanding of research methods has caused a probable lie to be spread. 

I would ask that everyone, especially those in the media, have the decency, the honesty and the integrity to question their sources, no matter how brilliant and honest they have been the in past. Otherwise we will be burned by the another Ahmed Chalabi and end up in another war that no one wants to pay for. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

VAT is the big deal?

Don't worry tourists to Israel! The new Israeli government isn't just now trying to screw you over with their proposed new no-VAT exemptions for tourists law (although it certainly will increase the cost of a trip to Israel), they already have been doing so and you just didn't know it. 

There are a few nice things about being a tourist in Israel, the weather, the sights (and sites), the food etc. Another thing which I enjoy is that the taxes are always included in the display price. So when it says you will pay 50 shekels, it is 50 shekels, not 50 shekels PLUS the taxes. Nevermind that taxes are now an exorbitant 17% (soon to be raised to 18%), and certain items such as alcohol have additional taxes (although these taxes are still included in the sticker price). 

A tourist in many countries is given the opportunity to fill out paperwork and receive the extra taxes back from the state as these are intended to be only exacted from citizens, residents, workers and students. I've traveled quite a bit, but I have never actually attempted to do the VAT refund which is available in many places because it seems like such a hassle. When my parents came to visit me late last year they made an effort to always inquire if VAT refund forms were available every place they shopped. We learned that there are many obstacles in the way of actually qualifying for a VAT refund, among them (the values here are based upon the old tax rate of 15.5%); 

  1. The business must be recognized by the Israel Tax Authority and the Ministry of Tourism (they will have the VAT refund sticker in the front window),
  2. The proper documents must be obtained from the business at the time of purchase, 
  3. The total amount of the item purchased must exceed 400 Shekels ($112 at today's exchange rate),
  4. The item must not be food, drink or tobacco.

These requirements are not too far out of the ordinary in comparison to other countries' laws. What makes this process a major headache is the actual collection of the VAT from Israeli authorities.

The refund procedure is as follows:
  1. The purchased goods along with the properly filled out forms must be placed in a "sealed and transparent nylon bag" (from the time of purchase) and may not be opened from the time of purchase until you leave Israel. 
  2. The VAT refund is made AFTER border control so if one intends to put their purchased items in their luggage, they must skip check-in (but at the same time have their ticket for the flight) and do the process for refund first (the actual refund will be given after check-in and security). Anyone who has been to Ben Gurion Airport and is familiar with the security knows how difficult and stressful this may be. In some cases they may force you to go through the initial screening process before you even go to the VAT stand.
  3. Once one gets to the VAT refund counter one has the option of receiving Dollars, Shekels or Euros in return, and it may be received in one of four methods; cash, credit to their credit card, a check, or a bank transfer.

There are another few hiccups to this process however:
  1. First there is a commission collected from the tourist (scale starts at 15% for purchases of 400 shekels and goes down to 4.8% if you spend over 28,000 shekels)
  2. If one wishes to receive the money in cash, there is an additional 1.99% fee
  3. If one wishes to receive the money via bank transfer there is an additional commission of 30.9 shekels (this is in addition to the usual cost of receiving an international funds transfer which is usually between 25-75 dollars)
  4. Lastly one must present their tourist visa, so if you purposefully avoided having it stamped so in the future you could visit countries that do not approve of Israeli stamps, you will likely not be able to receive a VAT refund. 

So in theory it is possible to get SOME money back, but the process is incredibly difficult and time-consuming and there is no guarantee that the bureaucrat working at the tax refund counter will actually give you any money back. My parents were not told by the person at the VAT counter of the fee for bank transfers and so we ended up not getting any money back at all. 

This however is not the true problem with the new proposed no VAT-exemptions for tourists law. The big problem is that hotels would now be allowed to charge VAT to foreign tourists. Hotels already are incredibly expensive in Israel and an additional 18% would certainly have a huge negative impact on the hotel industry and tourism as a whole. As such, Yair Lapid's new plan to cancel VAT refunds for tourists has been criticized by many including the Israeli Tourism Ministry here and here.

According to this article, canceling the VAT exemption for tourists will keep 300-500 million NIS ($84-140 million) in Israel. Assuming that there are 3.5 million tourists to Israel like there were in 2012, this adds up to an extra $24-40 per visitor. In all frankness I sincerely doubt that the figure of 300-500 million NIS is accurate and expect that the receipts to be higher. Apparently, the new legislation will be canceling the no-VAT exemption at hotels in Israel. This additional 18% charge on something that already likely costs at least 100 dollars per night is likely to increase prices for tourists in what is already one of the most expensive places to visit in the world.

Despite all of the friendly warnings about the process such as this useful article, the likelihood of receiving much money back from Israel as a tourist today is slim to none, and almost certainly not worth the headache. The fact that this may be cancelled and extra taxes added for tourists staying at hotels is not a step in the right direction for the new Israeli Minister of Finance. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Feminism in Iran

         Iran is the only country where the Head of Government (President) does not also control the military. The Head of State (Supreme Leader) does. It is also different from most governments in that the constitution  expressly prohibits women from obtaining this office. With the Iranian Presidential Elections fast approaching, I thought it would be useful to share a bit about the feminist movement in Iran. Here is an excerpt from a paper I wrote which provides a background for feminism (secular and Islamic) in Iran: 

           Following the fall of the Shah in 1979, a theocratic state came to power in Iran. This state took its legitimacy from Ayatollah Khomeini's theology of Velayat-e Faqih, which reinterpreted Twelver Shi'a beliefs to include a justification for clerical involvement in both politics and the state apparatus. This was a relatively new concept and had come from a new understanding of older practices. The ideas of innovation and transformation drove the revolution, which itself was representative of the unhappiness of the general public with the corrupt, repressive and ineffective Shah.
            Having played a large role in the street protests and civil unrest aimed towards Reza Shah, many Iranian women expected reforms benefitting them to be enacted after the fall of the shah[i]. Ayatollah Khomeini encouraged women to take part in the revolution, and so, despite his earlier writings explicitly describing his religious and political views, members of the public assumed that the version of Islam that he preferred was progressive or at least accepting. Khomeini had been quoted saying that "Islam has never been against [women's] freedom. It is, to the contrary, opposed to the idea of woman-as-object and it gives her back her dignity"[ii]. Possibly because of statements like these, most of the Iranian public would have not imagined a strict theocracy taking over once the shah fell. The primary motivating factor leading to the revolution was the belief that the ruler was unjust, corrupt and did not treat the common people with enough respect. The rapid implementation of gender-biased laws in the public and private sectors made it clear the rights previously granted (or forced) upon women were not going to kept[iii]. The progressive trends under the Shah were halted and then reversed, as many of the social reforms during the reign of the Shah giving women more rights, were abolished after the revolution[iv]. The actions of the clerical establishment following their ascent to power resulted in considerable resentment, especially from those women who had been active in overthrowing the Shah. They felt as though they deserved credit for their actions, rather than restrictions on their lifestyle[v].
            At the time of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, new social justice movements took hold, in particular secular feminism, which was becoming increasingly powerful in the Western world. In Iran as well, feminism became relevant as women wanted to play a bigger role in society. These women came from all portions of society—wealthy, poor, religious and secular[vi]. This diversity indicates the general feeling of malcontent in Iran at the time. Despite social unhappiness, a military and political event distracted from this.
            The devastating war between Iran and Iraq from 1980-1988, which resulted in horrific loss of life on both sides among civilians and military forces[vii], heightened sentiments of nationalism among Iranians, as they were all personally affected by the war. A whole generation of Iranian men perished and many women were forced to work as a result[viii]. Society's reliance on women to provide them with materials for the war empowered women. The supporting efforts of Iranian women were even more important than their voluntary actions during the events leading the Islamic revolution.
            Perhaps due to the pressures of the near decade long war with Iraq, economic and social problems that had existed under the Shah were not solved by the religious rulers[ix]. These problems were then exacerbated by the baby boom of the 1980s and 1990s. The Ayatollahs, faced with enormous population growth, determined that a family planning campaign was necessary. This campaign gave women more access to contraception, another form of female empowerment[x].
            Another significant change for women in Iran is that increasing numbers have been afforded the opportunity to attend university. Today, nearly two-thirds of university students in Iran are female[xi]. Education typically leads to empowerment, but empowerment is difficult within a restrictive society. The conflict between the restrictions and the expectations of further freedoms can prove to be problematic, and often results in unhappiness amongst the female population. This is especially true when highly educated individuals are unable to find jobs, or the wages of the jobs available to them are significantly less lucrative than that of men's jobs, and are far less than that of their counterparts in Western, developed nations[xii]. Although many women who desire and then obtain baccalaureate degrees may be secular or upper-class and Westernized, the women involved in protests and efforts to attain social justice are not necessarily secular, Western-oriented women. Many Iranian women are unsatisfied with the status quo and the lack of opportunities for economic or social advancement.
            This dissatisfaction was expressed in 1997, when a reformist, Mohammad Khatami was elected president[xiii]. This shocked the conservative government because they did not expect a relatively liberal member of the political establishment to be elected to such an important and influential position. The fact that Khatami won with such an overwhelming majority proved to be a serious challenge for the conservative factions of the government[xiv]. While the Supreme Leader continues to have absolute veto power, the fact that the population could so heavily favor a reformist could have been damaging to the clerical establishment's monopoly on political power in the Islamic Republic. Prior to Khatami's election the feminist movement in Iran seemed to be gaining traction as influential writers and public figures were able to speak more freely than they had been in the past. Some of this was due to the woman's magazine Zanan (Persian for ‘women’) which operated from 1992 until its forced closure in 2008[xv]. While the magazine focused primarily on secular women's voices, it made a point of including religious feminists as well. Despite the election results and the positive hopes of feminists and liberals in Iran[xvi], the government of President Khatami proved ineffective and either unwilling or unable to stand up to the conservatives in the majlis (Persian for the Iranian parliament). During Khatami's rule, the legal marriage age for girls was raised from nine to thirteen, yet as this is a non-compulsory law, it is not always enforced[xvii]. While in theory this is an improvement for women’s rights activists, the fact that it is not mandatory has led to accusations of inefficiency and weakness by President Khatami. Despite the steps towards reformation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, in 2000 at the height of the reform movement in Iran, a mere 5% of parliamentarians in Iran were women[xviii]. This is around one-third as many as an average "developing" country according to UN statistics[xix]. Even though Khatami had a popular mandate in the form of the overwhelming support he received during the presidential elections, he failed to create strong, lasting reforms. While Khatami is considered to have been inefficient president, he managed to stay in office for a second term.     
            In 2005, his replacement was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who while relatively unknown at the time, was a former mayor of the Iranian capital of Tehran. Ahmadinejad was allied with some parts of the conservative camp, as well as with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of which he had been a member. President Ahmadinejad and his allies restricted the feminist movement, reversing some of the limited reforms that President Khatami had enacted[xx]. In late 2006, President Ahmadinejad caused controversy when he stated that Iranian women should spend more time in the home raising their children[xxi]. Since his controversial re-election in June 2009 there have been mass protests of every variety, violently suppressed by the IRGC, its volunteer militias and the official state security forces.[xxii]

UPDATE: Iran is not the only country where the head of government does not also function as the head of state, but it is the only country where the head of government does NOT control the military. In every other country the ELECTED (or selected or appointed) head of government has control of the armed forces.

[i] Moghadam, Val. "Revolution, the State, Islam, and Women: Gender Politics in Iran and Afghanistan." Social Text 22.Spring (1989): 43. Print.
[ii] Sansarian, Eliz via Sameh, Catherine. "Discourses of Equality, Rights and Islam in the One Million Signatures Campaign in Iran." International Feminist Journal of Politics 12 (2010): 446. Print.
[iii] Mojab, Shahrzad. "Theorizing the Politics of 'Islamic Feminism'" Feminist Review 69.Winter (2001): 131. Print. , Moghadam, 1989: 45., Tohidi, Nayereh. "The Global-Local Intersection of Feminism in Muslim Societies: The Cases of Iran and Azerbaijan." Social Research 69.3 (2002): 858. Print.
[iv] Ibid, p. 858
[v] Ibid, p. 858
[vi] Moghadam 1989, 43
[vii] Estimates vary although some believe up to 1 million died in the first five years alone Alnasrawi, Abbas. "Economic Consequences of the IraqIran War." Third World Quarterly 8.3 (1986): 869. Print.
[viii] Sameh, Catherine. 2010: 446.
[ix] An early estimate put the economic cost of the war at nearly half a billion dollars See. Alnasrawi, 1986, p. 869
[x] Moghadam, Valentine via Sameh 2010: 446
[xi] Ebadi, Shirin via Barlow, Rebecca., and Shahram. Akbarzadeh. "Prospects for Feminism in the Islamic Republic of Iran." Human Rights Quarterly 30.1 (2008): 24. Print. And Esfandiari, Golnaz. "Number Of Female University Students Rising Dramatically in Iran." Payvand, Iran News, Directory and Bazar. 21 Nov. 2003. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>. And Mernissi, Fatima. "Muslim Women and Fundamentalism." Middle East Report 153.Jul-Aug (1988): 8-11+50. Print.
[xii] Barlow, Akbarzadeh 2008: 24
[xiii] Ibid, p. 26
[xiv] "Online NewsHour: Iranian Elections -- May 26, 1997." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. 26 May 1997. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <> .
[xv] "Shutting Down Zanan." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 7 Feb. 2008. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>.
[xvi] Ibid, p. 26
[xvii] Ibid, p. 28. The legal age had been lowered from 18 following the rise of the clergy see Moghadam, Valentine, Revolution, the State, Islam and Women. 1989, 46
[xviii] Ibid, p. 30
[xix] Ibid, p. 30
[xx] Sameh 2010, 448
[xxi] Barlow, Akbarzadeh 2008, 22
[xxii] The literature and news reporting on the Green Movement is extensive and can be found archived on every major news network as well as many forms of electronic social communications.