Early 20th Century

Mashhad, Iran

When Qajar Shah Nasir al-Din and his wife embarked on a journey to Europe in 1873, they were inspired by the “ballerina” skirts they saw in Paris. Upon returning to Iran, they brought with them a new style of dress, characterized by heavily-pleated short skirts and tight pants. (Israel Museum)

Israel Museum

Facts about women in universities in Iran

It has recently been reported in the English-language news that women have been barred from many degree programs in Iran. This is true. But there is much misinformation surrounding it. We should not be surprised at the level of disinformation; after all, it comes from Shirin Ebadi, one of the worst fraudsters ever seen from Iran. She received a Nobel Prize, by the way, by being a disingenuous, lying gender ideologue. As I explain the situation more deeply, you will see how easy it was for her to bring about lies and disinformation—and that if she has the chance to do it again, you can bet that she will.

There are two major types of universities in Iran: Sarasari and Azad.

Sarasari universities are government-funded and are free of charge. They are much more prestigious and heavily equipped than Azad universities. All students in Iran prefer to go to Sarasari universities. Every major city has at least one such university; all the most prominent universities in Iran are in this category, such as Sharif University of Technology, the University or Tehran, Shiraz University, and the University of Isfahan, to name a few.

On the other hand, Azad universities make students hemorrhage money. In Iran, when a family wants to say how much they are under pressure financially, they say that they have a kid (usually a daughter) who is going to an Azad university. The facilities resemble preschools more than real universities. You can be a professor at an Azad university just with a master’s degree (seriously). I have had many students who go to Azad universities. I teach them math. I expect a high school student to know much more about math than an average person graduated in math from an Azad university. Okay, I know, not all Azad students are like that, but they mostly are.

You might ask why such universities exist. Because it’s a prestige thing. It has nothing to do with knowledge or jobs. Chances of finding a job related to your field of study with a degree from an Azad university are extremely low; but everybody wants to say that they are engineers or doctors. So we invest heavily in making it possible for people with IQs of 70 to easily get a doctorate from an Azad university. It is not an education system; it is an education market.

One thing that is much related to all of this is Iran’s rate of population growth. After the revolution, the rate was extremely high, and right now we have passed the youth population peak. Meanwhile, the capacity of admission into universities has increased drastically during the past two decades. What it all means is that those 18-year-olds who took the university entrance exam 20 years ago were competing with 1.5 million other applicants for only around 80,000 seats in Sarasari universities. Ten years ago, you would be competing against 1.1 million others for around 130,000 seats in Sarasari universities and around 400,000 seats in Azad universities. Right now this year, the number of seats in the universities is higher than the number of those who want to attend universities! So first of all, women are not banned from university. Virtually everybody goes to university. We are at the point that you can go to an Azad university without even taking the university entrance exams, even for a PhD degree. Just pay the money and they will let you in.

Now we know enough so that I can explain the disingenuous or outright lies of Shirin Ebadi, namely her two claims that: 1) women are banned from university (the truth is something else entirely); and 2) women outperform men and are in general more educated than men.

A quote from the article:

“It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country’s religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.”

One of the things Ebadi loves to brag about in every article and speech of hers is this: women outperform men in universities in Iran … 65% of those accepted in universities are women …

Do girls really outperform boys? I don’t think so! It’s the kind of thing you can only sell to those outside of Iran; to me, who has been to the most prominent universities here, that is an outright lie.

Let’s start by the fact that 55% to 60% of those who take the university entrance exam are female. So just by stating this fact, the end result is now one step further from the apparent notion that women are superior to men in universities because they attend it 1.5 times men.

Next, when men do not get accepted in an appropriate field in a Sarasari university, many of them simply do not go to an Azad university where they are accepted because, unlike girls, they have financial burdens and a degree from an Azad university in Iran is not exactly the wisest thing a boy can do with four years of his life. Especially given that the tuition for an Azad university is so backbreaking that it makes no sense to go there for anything other than the prestige of having a diploma. Particularly since he also needs to spend two more years in the military. Speaking of military service, men can only take the university entrance exam up to one year after graduation before being forcibly conscripted, while there is no such limit for women. This especially poses a problem when trying to get accepted for a M.Sc. degree because the first time that you have the chance to take the exam you are still a non-graduated student, which is why people usually get accepted to master’s programs at their second attempt or more.

Anyway, Azad universities are heavily dominated by females, which is as far from women outperforming men as possible (many men simply do not bother with the tuition for a worthless degree although they get accepted). Who pays for all those women who go to Azad universities, by the way? Their fathers (or husbands and sometimes brothers), many of whom work two jobs to pay the tuition.

How about Sarasari universities? Are they dominated by women? No, at least not in a disproportionate manner from the female-to-male ratio of participants in the exam. If you go to the most prominent universities in Iran (such as the Sharif University of Technology), every step of the way men dominate the campus space more. Iranian men also contribute much more to science than Iranian women, although they are given much less chance to do so.

Now we get to the other claim, which is that women are banned from many universities in many of the fields. If one honest person wanted to report the reality, they would have said: Some (of the Sarasari) universities have made some few fields single-gendered. For example, the University of Agriculture and Natural Resources Ramin does not accept any male students in the field of agricultural economy, while Jondi Shapour University, in its mapping branch of civil engineering, accepts only male students.

Although I oppose this policy myself (because it seems that they want to separate the sexes even more), when they tell half the truth and make it a women’s issue and then blow it out of proportion, I have this to say: Go to another fucking university for this field or go to this university in another fucking field. I just love how this is all a big problem now that the chances of you not getting into university as a female have approached zero, while 20 years ago, when it was extremely difficult to get accepted, girls had quota.

Now let’s look at one of the claims in that article:

Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi said “the real agenda was to reduce the proportion of female students to below 50%. …”

Lie. Since all participants in the university entrance exam can get into university since just this year (except for some men who are reluctant to go to an Azad university), the proportion of women in universities cannot possibly go below 58%, which is around the percentage of female participants in the exam. Not to mention how this whole one-sided story was made up.

Not only it is a half-truth that women are banned (men are excluded in the same manner in some universities), but it is also another lie that they are banned from any particular field. If one university excludes one gender in one field, other universities don’t. This means that there is not a single field from which any gender is banned. Furthermore, I actually spent several hours and found the numbers.

The total number of seats in fields where one gender is excluded does not account for even 0.5% of all seats. That is what all the fuss is about: less than 0.5% of seats, usually in not-so-prestigious universities, have been single-gendered, and so Ebadi censors the truth about men.

There is also quota. Some universities have reserved some seats for one gender in some fields. Azad universities, which account for the majority of university students, do not have any quota of any sorts. Some of the Sarasari universities do, however. So I counted these numbers (including single-gendered seats) for First Admission (free of charge) for two of the major fields: math/physics/engineering and humanities. (A cursory glance over the other field, namely medicine and medical fields, shows that women have more quota there, but I didn’t count the actual number.) Here is the result:

I can go on and on and on about other stuff, but I think this response is enough for now, isn’t it?

- Ali Mehraspand, A Voice for Men


n showcasing some 200 works of Iranian visual culture, the arts were not only represented in great breadth throughout Unedited History, but also lent new archival weight in having been included in the exhibition’s catalogue. Works from Kaveh Golestan’s 1979 Prostitute series, which captured life within Shahr-e No (lit. ‘New City’), Tehran’s former red light district, were documents of an era. The Tehrani prostitutes – the ‘stars’ of Golestan’s black-and-white pictures – appear strangely glamorous, as if they are actresses waiting backstage. There is a note in the catalogue mentioning that these images provide a rare record of female ‘bodies’ and life in Iran. The lone bedroom shot utilised here by Golestan, where the turmoil of Iranian femininity is revealed indoors, is a trope that continues in the works of contemporary artists such as Newsha Tavakolian (e.g. her 2013 Look series). Golestan’s series shows a domesticity that is chipped and peeling; these are houses, after all, albeit of ill repute. Bedroom walls are lined with posters of leading ladies and male heartthrobs – complete with 70s Afro hairstyles and flared jeans – who watch over each bed. As well, double-entendres are not lost in the décor of the bordellos: tissue boxes are omnipresent on each bedside table, pussycats are stroked in the laps of the belles, and cockerels strut in and out of brothel doorways.

Read the full article here

anonymous said:

Being iranian and atheist is something that baffles me. Excuse me, but it seems that the only reason you don't believe in any religion is because you think they are not divine inspired? You believe the world came out of nothing? Most senseless statement ever. Even statistician say it's absurd. And I say that it baffles me because one of the reasons I came back to Islam is reading islamic political thought from iranian intellectuals lol. They are pretty good.

First of all being an Iranian and an atheist are mutually exclusive. You can be an Iranian and be Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, atheist, or agnostic, you could even convert to other religions. Just to point out there are actually a lot of Iranians atheists/agnostics.

& no actually it’s not absurd at all. If you’d like I can talk about the reasons why in my opinion religions are not divinely inspired, but you’ve sent this message as some sort of an attack on me. I am not attacking you for becoming a Muslim, in fact I am happy if you have found your answers through Islam. You can ask me about my views and I can share them with you but there is not need to be hostile.

I don’t believe anything based on faith. The ideas that I hold to be true are based on evidence. There are many different theories about the origin of the universe which are based on no evidence. For instance, some tribes in Central Africa believe that their version of god was in pain from eating too much one day, he then vomited and that is how the universe formed. In the Christian view the Genesis derived creationist ideas of the Old Testament seem popular, which say that god created the world in 6 days, and the earth is around 6,000 years old. These are that millions consider as the absolute truth, and consider to be the origin of the Universe. This belief that God created the universe and everything in it was more believable by the majority when our scientific knowledge was not at the point of being able to explain much. But then again there was also a time when we hardly had enough knowledge to explain why it rains, or why people get sick and that is why ideas were made up for that. Now we have much better answers to these questions, so if I were to tell you that it is raining because the rain god is angry, or because we jumped up and down a lot last night, you would think I am crazy.

It was less than 100 years ago that the Hubble telescope began to observe space, prior to that we had such little knowledge about the universe that it was difficult to study the cosmos. This allowed for measuring the light from galaxies and determining their velocities, which demonstrated that all the galaxies were moving away from us. This explains the “expanding universe” and ultimately leads to where I stand on this. Prior to understanding the idea of an expanding universe it was so easy to credit god with everything. The expansion of the universe explains that if we are to go back billions of years, then there was a point when the galaxies were much closer to one another.

Time was thought to be different and separate from space and for this reason people had always been convinced that there needs to be a creator, until Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity unified time and space. I believe the big bang gave birth to the universe and time.

Once we have a foundation of where the universe came from, we can study evolution to get a better understanding of what happened after and where we are now. Evolution is such an extensive subject, which explains that humans and apes share a common ancestor that ultimately gave rise to both modern apes and modern humans, which explains the existence of modern apes. Evolution simply explains the diverse forms of life on earth, how different races exist, and so much more.

We are still moving forward and learning more, there was a time when we thought the earth was flat, so as we have move forward we find more answer. We are not even close to solving everything, but the progress made in the last couple centuries is remarkable. I highly suggest reading more into the origins of the universe, cosmology, and evolution. They are incredibly fascinating subjects, and you will see how we have moved forward in answering many of the old questions that always boggled our mind.


Devoid of pitiful moralising and surpassing fetishistic infatuation with depictions of human sordidness, in the series Fictionville Rokni Haerizadeh cunningly (and
controversially) violates and perverts found photographic media images depicting human suffering into an anthropomorphic Orwellian world of fairytales: humourous, grotesque, satirical, bitter. With spontaneous violent fantasy, Haerizadeh applies
layers of gesso and bonding, breaks down the apparent integrity of the image, drains away the reductive moral stance, absolves his found canvas of its account of truth – in the Nietzschean sense unmasking all accounts of the truth in order to arrive
closer to the truth. It is ruthless criticism in the spirit of creative play (via)

artist rokni haerizadeh’s project fictionville can be found in book form here.

Thirty countries met in Paris yesterday at the invitation of the French president, Francois Hollande, to talk about the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Among them were the U.S., Russia, China, and the U.K. and several Arab countries but not Syria, one of the countries in which ISIS is operating, nor Iran, which borders Iraq and, as every country in the region, considers ISIS a national security threat.

Instead, the American and Iranian governments used the opportunity to exchange barbs. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed his government refused a “private request” from the U.S. to cooperate on ISIS. Iran already assists Iraq militarily, as does the U.S., and also assists the Syrian government in its ongoing civil war with ISIS and various other rebel groups.

The Syrian government, meanwhile, has insisted airstrikes in Syria without its permission would be a “big mistake,” blaming the U.S. and its allies on helping to create ISIS. “Those who would like to fight terrorism cannot fight terrorism in Syria or in Iraq without coordinated actions with both governments and without a broader international coalition,” Syria’s deputy foreign minister said, according to the Tehran Times. “That should also take on board Russia, China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all other countries. You cannot fight terrorism when you collaborate with those who created these terrorist groups, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and others.” 

ISIS declared itself a caliphate in July, its dominion over all Muslims and territory reaching from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam’s holiest city. While some American politicians warn that ISIS (like the big bads that came before it) could send agents across the porous U.S.-Mexico border. ISIS has far closer borders to penetrate in Saudia Arabia to the south and Turkey to the north.

In the meantime, only the United States has conducted air strikes in Iraq so far, and it is looking for other countries to commit combat troops. France, which called the ISIS conference last month, only began surveillance flights over Iraq after receiving permission from the Iraqi government at the conference.  Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said ground troops in Iraq would be possible if airstrikes “fail.” As the U.S. prepares to escalate its military campaign against ISIS, it only provides regional powers more threatened by ISIS’ operations less incentive to act on their own.

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History of Iran in 5 minutes (3200 BCE - 2013 CE)