Iran’s Guardian Council, a hard-line conservative force in Iran, approved a bill yesterday broadening women’s divorce rightsÑa right that has been severely limited since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran’s parliament approved the bill in August, but in order for the bill to become law it had to be approved by the Guardian Council.
Currently, women can only file for divorce if they have written permission from their husbands. A woman can also file for divorce if she can prove that her spouse is a drug addict, impotent, or insane. At the same time, however, a man can divorce his wife for any reason.
The signing of this bill by both the Parliament and the Guardian Council is among several steps being taken to broaden the rights of women in Iran. Since the 1997 election of the President Mohammad Khatami, Iranian women have gained greater freedoms, including the repeal of a ban on unmarried women studying abroad.
While the signing of this bill brings women one step closer to equality, Iranian women still lack essential rights such as being unable to work or travel without a husband’s permission, and their testimony in court is only worth half of a man’s.