Who is Fatemeh Alia? A Female MP of the Iranian regime
NCRI Women’s Committee – June 2015
Fatemeh Alia, born in 1956, is one of the nine women MPs in the Iranian regime’s Parliament. She has been Tehran’s MP in the seventh, eighth and ninth parliaments.
Alia, sister and child of the regime’s officials, took part in the Iran-Iraq war as a medic in the paramilitary Basij units. She is famous for her record in torturing female political prisoners in Evin Prison.
Status and role of women MPs in mullahs’ parliament
The quota allocated for women in the mullahs’ parliament with representatives from 330 cities across the country has not exceeded 14 to this day.
Based on this, there were only four women MPs amongst the total 327 members in the first parliament. The number of women in different parliaments is as follows:
2nd parliament: 4 out of 277 members;
3rd parliament: 4 out of 288 members;
4th parliament: 9 our of 274 members;
5th parliament: 14 out of 274 members;
6th parliament: 13 out of 298 members;
7th parliament: 13 out of 298 members;
8th parliament: 5 out of 291 members, while the 9th parliament has 9 seats for women out of 288 members. One of the five women is Fatemeh Alia who is a member of the Council and Internal Affairs Committees.
According to state-run media in areas related to women’s rights, these women are actively defending reactionary viewpoints and the elimination of women from the social arena.
According to state-run Asr-e Iran daily on April 15, 2015, one of these women by the name of Fatemeh Rake’i said, “Women MPs are at times worse and ahead of male MPs in supporting bills that are not in line with women’s rights.”
She spoke about bills on decreasing the number of working hours for women with the objective of gradually forcing them back to their homes, and about other plans such as gender segregation in universities, banning women from stadiums, supporting law for polygamy all adopted in the regime’s 9th parliament. This demonstrate that most of the mullahs’ women MPs have done nothing about women’s rights, have been active advocates of such beliefs and endorse them with their silence.
(State-run Asr-e Iran – April 15, 2015) http://www.asriran.com/fa/news/391571
This backing can also be seen in other issues. State-run Asr-e Iran daily reported on February 27, 2010 that a group of MPs in a letter to the head of the Organization of Cultural Heritage and Tourism expressed their gratitude for measures taken against tourist companies that don’t abide by religious customs. They said, “This gratitude is expressed at a time when the organization took action against recreational tours who have insulted religious customs by playing music. Fatemeh Alia, Laleh Eftekhari, Zohreh Elahian and Effat Shariati were amongst the signatory MPs.”
The same media outlet wrote on February 28, 2015, “Fatemeh Alia and Nayereh Akhavan were amongst MPs who signed a proposed plan to take action against house pets.”
Fully defending mullahs’ Supreme Leader and supporter of Ahmadinejad
Fatemeh Alia is a member of the Principalist Perseverance Front (the faction loyal to the regime’s leader, Khamenei) . She fully defends the principle of having a ‘supreme leader’. Asr-e Iran quoted her on May 30, 2011 saying, “The credibility of all our officials and parliament is in the supreme leader. We believe the criterion, is their loyalty to the supreme leader and we shape our support on the standards he sets.”
State-run ISNA news agency cited her saying on October 29, 2013, “The Death to America slogan and burning this country’s flag is considered as a revolutionary act these days.” She adds about Rouhani, “Under the moderation mentality, how did the first problem and priority of women become smoking hookahs and singing? A number of people have turned the country’s political atmosphere into insulting martyrs, virtue and hijab. This reactionary rhythm towards liberalism and feminism is alarming.”
While Ahmadinejad was utterly hated by the Iranian people and international public opinion, during his tenure Alia was one of his strong supporters.
In June 2009 during the Iranian people’s widespread uprising after the controversial elections that gave way to Ahmadinejad in the second term, she said Ahmadinejad had revived the revolution and Khomeini himself. “He will be victorious in the first round of the 10th presidential elections”… “Ahmadinejad’s high characteristics as an executive director and great activity at work, tireless efforts, passion to serve, full belief in Khomeini’s cause and the supreme leader’s demands.”
Alia’s attachment to the supreme leader, shapes her position on human and women’s rights. According to the official analytic Khabaronline news site, Alia referred to the complaints raised by MPs to the Minister of Sciences regarding the registration of black-listed college students.
“A number of these college students have been condemned on security charges. Therefore, there must be measures taken in this regard.”
(Black-listed college students are considered opposed to the regime because of their political and social activities, and are constantly under surveillance. Various restrictions such as being deprived of education are also imposed on them.)
On condemnations of the regime’s widespread executions, especially the execution of minors, Alia says, “Every day in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, we are witnessing the killings of women and children by terrorist. However, many so-called human rights advocates remain silent vis-a-vis these catastrophes.” She admitted to the regime’s meddling in regional countries and said, “Iran always supports the oppressed and will continue to do so.”
In June 2010, a year after the nationwide uprisings, Alia and 7 other female MPs were among 175 others who wrote an open-letter to the judiciary chief demanding more speedy prosecution for Mousavi and Karroubi.
On issues regarding women, Alia shows no shame in her compliance and front role in misogynist viewpoints.
In December 2010, when the stoning verdict against a deprived women by the name of Sakineh Ashtiani reached international headlines and there were rumors of revocation to this sentence, Fatemeh Alia rushed to the scene and said, “Reports on cancelling Sakineh Ashtiani’s stoning verdict are utter lies.”
Claiming that the verdicts are issued and carried out with utmost precision, she said, “Due to the importance of carrying out rulings such as stoning and execution, there is a mechanism to change the ruling in appeals court. Such announcements are credible only through judiciary officials.”
In September 2008, Alia supported a bill on polygamy and temporary marriages.
In response to protests by a number of Iranian women, she said, “The parliament will not give in to reviewing a bill focused on supporting families because of the slander and smear campaign of a handfull of secular individuals.”
She added, “We went to see the supreme leader and he said the spirit of this law is to defend the rights of women and families.”
Asr-e Iran daily wrote on September 22, 2010, “Female faction member (Fatemeh Alia) said, “Legalizing temporary marriages supports women’s rights. This image that a number of women give in to temporary marriages because of the alimony, is wrong, because alimony is not mandatory for men in temporary marriages!”
Asr-e Iran wrote on August 19, 2010 about another article of a bill supporting families and stated, “Critics of article 22 of the bill supporting families, believe second marriages for men decrease women’s rights because in such marriages women do not receive any inheritance from men. Men are not due to pay any alimony and they can separate anytime they wish.”
In the early days of Ahmadinejad’s presidential tenure, a number of women’s rights activists in Iran launched a campaign to gather one million signatures to change discriminatory laws against women. The dictatorship reacted by arresting three of them. Fatemeh Alia tacitly approved and said, “Their activities were in the legal framework but, it is actually a political measure.”
As she personally admits, women’s rights have no place in the mullahs’ regime. On April 28, 2015, she told state-run Farjam media, “Worn-out slogans such as ‘anti-women’ and ‘anti-men’ no longer have a place in our society and do not belong to the Islamic mentality.”
She added, “We have Islamic standards regarding our values, and the framework of [Khomeini’s] and of the supreme leader’s beliefs, have put an end to these forged slogans.”
In December 2014 on a bill entitled, “Ending Violence Against Women” she admitted, “We are among the small number of UN member states that have not joined the convention to ban all types of discrimination against women because the Guardian Council considered 90 of its articles against sharia and the constitution, and disagrees with it.”
On statistics that shows 1 in every 3 women is a victim of violence, she claimed, “Recently, despite incidents such as acid attacks, the subject of violence against women has gained further sensitivity. However, it becomes a major issue in Iran.”
Attributing the clerical to Islam she added, “In contrast to the West, the need of a husband’s permission for a woman to leave the house is not considered violence in Islam.”
In May 2011, she said women riding bicycles is not in line with the society’s public culture. She emphasized, “The proposal of riding bicycles around the city is for men, not women”, and “arrangements should be made for men to use bicycles for their commuting so that they feel safe when ridding a bike.”
Alia who appears as the Iranian regime’s women’s rights advocate in the international arena, regarding women’s protest and demands to enter stadiums and watch volleyball matches said in the summer of 2014, “A woman is due to have children, raise them and take care of her husband, not to go and watch volleyball games. A woman, whose main concern is to go to stadiums, gets busy with other subjects that do not meet her main duties. Go and ask those who want to see volleyball match how many of them are actually married, how many have children, and if they have, how do they raise them. If women truly want to see volleyball games, they can go and watch women’s games up close.”
State-run ISNA news agency published this report and asked, “It would be good if we had the number of women who voted for Ms. Alia, and she could explain what exactly she’s doing in the parliament other than opposing all measures related to women’s rights?”
After protests were raised about her position on women entering sports stadiums, Alia decided to give them an advantage. In her interview with the state-run Sharian News media on November 5, 2014 she said, “The Islamic Republic approves women entering the work force. However this comes with two conditions: first is the type of job. The job must be in line with women’s nature and existing framework. The other condition is the issue of mixing, meaning that working areas must not create problems for women.”
As one of the staunch supporters of mandatory hijab, in October 2014 she signed a bill along with Zohreh Tayeb-zadeh, Nayereh Akhavan Bi-taraf and Laleh Eftekhari on “Protecting Virtue and Hijab”. It is notewothy that some time before this plan, Tehran’s municipality issued a statement eliminating women from positions such as office administrator, operators, secretaries and other jobs. At the same time, the police also banned any women employed in coffee shops.
The bill to “Protect Sanctities of Virtue and Hijab” is actually complementary to the misogynist plan of “Supporting Agents of Promoting virtue and Prohibiting vice”, which is yet another tool to eliminate women from the workforce. State-run Asr-e Iran daily explained this in detail on October 16, 2014.
“Article one of this bill reads:
– If a driver or other passengers of a vehicle is found with improper veiling, eating during the month of fasting hours of Ramadan or doing measures against public virtue, they must be fined 1 million rials and if this is repeated the vehicle must be confiscated for 72 hours.
– For women who disrupt public virtue through their non-sharia or inadequate clothing, an article in this bill calls the State Security Forces to first force these women to participate in training lessons; then punish them with a financial fine ranging from 2 to 10 million rials.
– According to article 5 of this bill, employed women must avoid mixing with men, and they must go to work only from 7 am to 10 pm. If this article is not respected, it will be considered a violation and the business will be closed for a week by the State Security Forces. If repeated, that business will be closed for a month.
– Based on another article of this bill, building managers are obliged to ban central devices regarding satellite dishes and issue written notices to the residents. If no measures are taken a month after the written warning, the building manager must report this issue to the State Security Forces. If a building manager does not issue notices to the apartment tenants or refuses to send reports to the State Security Forces, the manager will be fined.
– According to article three of this bill, all apparatuses responsible for services provided by the country must have the necessary requirements so that when a woman pays a visit to one of these centers, she is respecting sharia laws with her hijad. The creators of the bill also suggested that the revenue to implement this law be given to State Security Forces so they can spend it to spend on education, while promoting hijab and virtue.”
In June 2010, Alia personally stressed the need to implement more repressive measures with the plan to develop ‘virtue and hijab’and reiterated the State Security Forces role and said, “The first duty of the State Security Forces is that after the hijab guidelines are established, to implement them and be ready to take action. There are some organized movements and problems, meaning that some people receive money and are missioned to attack our Islamic Iranian culture. Taking action against these individuals is amongst the obvious duties of security, intelligence and police apparatuses.”
She added, “When we want to arrest a criminal or thief jumping over people’s walls, do we say it beforehand? The arrest of these individuals can be made with the cooperation of the Ministry of Intelligence.”
In March 2015, referring to the Beijing+20 summit, Fatemeh Alia said in an interview with state-run Tasnim news agency that, “Khomeini said ‘Gender equality is against Islam and justice.”
In March 2015, she misused Islamic symbols in an attempt to invite women to patience and silence when their rights are being decreased. She said about Prophet Mohamed’s daughter, “She is a Muslim woman, i.e in the sanctity of family; she has a role of being a patient wife, with forgiveness and giving advice. As a mother, she had a very important role in raising future generations of the society.”
She added, “There are those who ridicule housewives and say women must have a role in sensitive posts, and they have limited this to governmental and parliamentary posts; whereas in an advanced society, women’s expertise is to fill the society’s gaps in various fields.”
The latest legal bill adopted by regime officials in their enmity against women came in April of this year by preventing women in various jobs. State-run IRNA news agency wrote, “One of the issues in the gender quota handbook is the inequality that limits women’s access to various jobs. An evaluation of the employment test handbook shows that among 2,800 individuals accepted in this test, 2,284 posts were allocated for men, and only 16 were set aside for women. This breakdown comes at a time when unemployment amongst women is twice that of men.”
The media outlet then published Fatemeh Alia’s approval of this misogynist plan and wrote, “Alia, who had previously described having children, raising them and taking care of husbands as the most important duties of women, said in an interview with IRNA news agency: ‘My emphasis in all tests is on respecting and not being caught off-guard from the quota allocated to disabled individuals.’
She described employment for women as a cultural issue related to women themselves and said, “There are no obstacles on employment, be it in the constitution or laws passed by the parliament. Now it is up to the three branches to provide a working environment that is immune from any mixing [of men and women].”
Alia also said, “All jobs must be classified based on their competence. A number of jobs are very far from the spirit of women, or there are many male applicants in this regard. The duty of officials and those involved is to place priority on an ethical framework and the laws.”