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Country / Region profile of: Iran

Women in the Islamic Republic of Iran have continued to challenge the discriminatory aspects of the rigid interpretation of Sharia and promote gender equality through peaceful methods, including the One Million Signatures campaign. Iran has a long history of international conflict, and domestic politics is characterised by the wide rift between the powerful, religious conservatives and the reformists. The development of Iran's nuclear programme resulted in multiple sanctions from the international community, including an oil embargo by the European Union, until November 2013, when Iran agreed to restrict uranium enrichment. Iran is not a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Iran is ranked 139 out of 144 listed countries on the 2016 Global Gender Gap Index (GGI). In October 2016, Iran participated in the Open Debate on WPS and gave a statement affirming support for WPS but made no specific commitments. In 2016 Iran spent $6.3 bln on the military. Recently, in April 2014, when the UN elected Iran to a four-year seat on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Iranian women activists protested the election of a country that has actively opposed CEDAW and legally restricted women's rights domestically. 

"The history of the women’s movement in the last 35 years in Iran has been a history of constant battle between the Government and women. Iranian women are the only group that have systematically pushed back against the Government whenever it tried to infringe on their rights." - Haleh Esfandiari