July 20, 2015
These are the words of a senior Iranian police official as reported on an Iranian website, Varsh News.
Morteza Talai, a former chief of police of Tehran and the current deputy chief of Tehran’s security council is reported to have said, “Ten percent of Iranian men have reported that their wives have had extramarital affairs.”
Talai, who is also the head of a Quran center, was speaking at an event on the Quran in the town of Ghaemshahr, in the northern Mazandaran province of Iran. He warned that the institution of family was under threat and stressed, “The 40% divorce rate, emotional divorces, psychological divorces, contractual marriages, celebrations over divorce, the spread of ‘white marriage’ that disregarded religious ethics and ‘singles houses’ are the social damage that threaten the family.
The news agency used the comments of Talai to add that these trends were the work of the “enemies” who “plan to unveil and unclothe the Iranian woman by 2025.”
Talai said one reason why this was happening was that social leaders such as artists, sportsmen and policy makers had lost their effectiveness adding, “We have no social leaders today.” He pointed out that divorce statistics among officials is no less than other sectors in society.”
His solution: “Teaching of Quranic values in simple language in the mosques so that a Quranic core takes place in every home.”
So this explains why the judiciary has been pushing in Iran to have family counsellors intervene in “contractual divorces,” which is an agreement reached by a couple who have agreed to end their marriage and involves mutually agreed arrangements for child support, alimony, etc., without the involvement of the clerics – who are the authorities that sanction a marriage – or a court which is the traditional forum for sanctioning and finalizing the dissolution of a marriage.
It is easy to talk about creating a Quranic core or center in every household. So are we now going to have a mobile Quranic force plying the streets of Tehran who will have the authority to enter homes to create a Quranic core in the evenings? If so, then there would probably be some form of punishment for families that do not comply.
It is now many years that ethics and morals are linked with the whip, imprisonment and deprivations in Iran. But these remarks by Talai indicate that he is apparently not happy with the current state mechanisms, institutions (such as the moral police that roams the streets of all towns and cities) and amount of money spent on policing the streets for injecting morals into citizens by force and intimidation.
It appears that the mere lifting of sanctions on paper has been sufficient for some to start planning for the financial benefits of the heralded windfalls. So one should not be surprised that once the implementation of the July 14 Vienna nuclear deal begins, a new organization, the Quranic Centers in the House will be formed, depriving families of their peaceful evenings who will be peeping through the windows every so often to be alerted of the new police ready to pounce in.
It is possible that the figures that Talai quotes are correct. It is possible that more than 10% of Iranian men are aware of their wives illicit affairs with other men, but he most likely is aware that more than 90% of Iranian women know of their husband’s extramarital affairs and yet continue to hold their marriage intact. He is I am sure well aware that men have the temporary marriage or concubine mechanism available to them to suppress their wives and threaten her anytime they please to ensure her compliance with his wishes. Ultimately of course some of these women may decide to end their marriage because of the husband’s extramarital affairs, legal or illicit, but when they do, Talai is not going to hold the man’s behavior to be the cause of the break up and is not even worried about what he does or does not. If the breakup of the family is bad and a misfortune for society, this is true for all such events, and not confined to situations where the wife was acting unethically or amorally.
There is no doubt that Mr. Talai is fully aware of the Islamic criminal code and knows the sensitives that exist over extra-marital affairs. He certainly knows that since the Islamic revolution in 1979, there have been multitudes of stoning of women and a two or three cases of stoning of men in the country. He knows the leniency of laws regarding men who commit violence at home. I am sure he is aware of these and many other realities of the gender status, relations and official views on them.
It was during his tenure that civil activists in Iran were subjected to trumped-up moral and ethical charges and put behind bars after periods of torture when they were coerced to make false self-incriminating statements. But we do not want to go into that now and leave to the historians of torture in Iran.
What Talai is really after is a new agency, with a large budget to take care of his “concern.” He seems to forget that the Islamic Propagation Organization (Sazemane Tablighate Eslami) for example has been trying for the last 37 years, with huge budgets and resources, to make Iran a more moral and Islamic society, to no avail. Had the state recognized and observed the principles of the declaration of human rights to which it is legally committed through its signature and adherence, conditions out there would be different. Were there such harsh and inhuman punishments, and discrimination laws, during the Shah’s period when morals and ethics in their sexual relations were observed by married couples? Was the hijab mandatory in those days?
Under the Islamic regime, every person who talks about morals first asks for a budget and an organization/agency. When he gets enough “support” his ideas take the form of a bill in the Majlis, which is ultimately “approved.” A budget is resourced and the Guardian Council approves the bill. It is just like writing a proposal and then finding funds for it.
There is plenty of reason to be concerned about Talai’s idea. He seems to have received classified information that makes him claim that “enemies” have been creating plans for Iran. He has apparently learned that the enemy has plans to unveil the Iranian woman by 2025 in the streets.
But these stories aside, I suspect that this Quran expert has finally realized, through classified polls or otherwise, that Iranian women will sooner or later not only explode and revolt on their own rather than the direction of outsiders because of the imposed hijab and other discriminatory and inhuman practices of the regime and will even embrace feminism after these decades of suppression and oppression.