Iran’s New Protest Generation

Robin Wright in The New Yorker:

In his fatwas and sermons, Iran’s revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, commanded women to hide their bodies and hair from men and “lusting” prepubescent boys. “If this piece of clothing did not exist—the Islamic dress—women could not work in a useful and healthy way,” he said, in a testy exchange with the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, in 1979. (She promptly took off her chador, calling it a medieval rag.) Khomeini also recommended that girls be married off before puberty—or the onset of menstruation. “One of the blessings of man,” he said, “is to have his daughter experience her first period not in her father’s house but in that of her husband.” He ruled on sex and marriage and breast-feeding, too. A man who has had sex with his wife after her last menstrual period must wait until after her next one to divorce, although he could proceed if his wife had not yet reached her ninth birthday, was pregnant, or was menopausal. Any wet nurse, the Ayatollah said, should be a “faithful Shi’ite, intelligent, modest, and pretty,” and not “ugly or a bastard.” Every July, Iran officially marks the National Day of Hijab and Chastity.

More here.