Rees Lloyd draws my attention to the latest story about women’s rights in Iran on this Mother’s Day.
US Fails to Thwart Iran’s ‘Serious Threat’ to Women’s Rights
Just days after Iranian clerics attacked “immodest dress” by women and threatened suntanned women with arrest, Iran won a seat on a United Nations women’s rights commission.
The American delegation could easily have thwarted the move by raising an objection. But U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was not on hand for the vote. In fact, she wasn’t even at the U.N.
“Wouldn’t you think that a female American ambassador would understand the importance of standing up against a country that has some of the world’s most hostile laws toward women?” Richard Grenell, who served as spokesman for four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N., wrote in National Review. “Shouldn’t Rice want to use the opportunity to highlight the regime’s record on women’s rights?”
Iran has become infamous for its treatment of women. On April 19, Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi, a leading cleric in Tehran, said that immodest dress and behavior by women disturbed young men and was to blame for an increase in earthquakes.
Shortly thereafter, Tehran’s police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, warned that suntanned women will be arrested as part of a new drive to enforce the Islamic dress code, The Telegraph in Britain reported.
Then at an April 28 meeting of the U.N.’s 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Iran was nominated for a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). If the United States or any other Western country in the ECOSOC protested, a secret ballot would have been required and Iran might well have not received a majority of 28 votes.
But the United States, Canada, Australia, and 10 European nations raised no objection, and Iran was therefore given the seat “by acclamation,” according to CNS News.
Beginning in 2011, Iran will help set U.N. policy on gender equality and women’s rights.
Iranian women’s rights activists sent a letter to the U.N. saying that Iranian membership in the CSW would pose a “serious threat” to the body’s “goals and mission,” and warned that the Iranian government would use it “to curtail progress and the advancement of women.”
A U.S. State Department report released in March stated that “provisions in the Islamic civil and penal codes, particularly sections dealing with family and property law, discriminate against women.” And CNS reported that members of the National Iranian American Council charged that the Iranian government “has taken every conceivable step to deter women’s progress and institute a regressive regime against gender equality.”
According to Grenell, Rice’s failure to act is not surprising. “For Rice, this silence is becoming a pattern,” he wrote. “Rice has been routinely unavailable to reporters, absent from daily U.N. meetings, and all too often silent when the American people needed a strong voice to speak out on an important issue. From Iran to Zimbabwe to Sudan to Cuba, Rice consistently stays silent.
“It’s no wonder other countries at the U.N. think the Obama administration is so easy to work with. And it also explains why we haven’t had one single Security Council resolution on Iran since Rice arrived.”
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com