Sexual Politics and Law in Iran: The Narrative Surrounding the 2013 Bills

in The Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
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The struggle to control women’s destinies and bodies through law is a well-known issue. The Islamic republic of Iran is no stranger to such an attempt, and in 2013 the conser­vative Majles introduced two bills: the Bill to increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline (Bill 446) and the Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill (Bill 315). These bills were the outcome of the Guide Ayatollah Khameini’s decision that family planning should be reformed and that policies on population control should be lifted. Altogether, these laws challenge sexual and reproductive rights as guaranteed under several international law documents ratified by Iran. The purpose of this article is to look into the two Bills to extract the conservative Shia thought lingering behind them, and to critically examine it before moving to study the strategy to promote such views inside the republic. The overall focus will be that of the protection and implementation of women’s rights from an Islamic and a universalist perspective, looking at traditional women’s rights paradigms.

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