The Leveretts on the Status of Women in Iran, and Other Western Misconceptions about the Islamic Republic—on The Dish


We are continuing our appearances on The Dish’s “Ask Anything” video series.  Yesterday, we addressed the question, “What’s the biggest misconception about Iran you encounter on a regular basis?”  Please click here or on the embedded video above to see “Ask the Leveretts Anything:  The Treatment of Women in Iran.”

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


14 Responses to “The Leveretts on the Status of Women in Iran, and Other Western Misconceptions about the Islamic Republic—on The Dish”

  1. kooshy says:

    Kashan Journal

    Restoring Iran’s Heritage of Magnificent Homes in an Age of High Rises

    “Black-clad women waited at a small bakery as the rattling noise of a motorcycle in the distance echoed through the alleys. Finally, Mrs. Nader, an interior designer in Tehran, reached her destination: a large, two-panel wood door that opened up to her fully renovated weekend home, a majestic old Iranian house with four bedrooms, colored-glass windows, a separate office, two garden areas and a large rectangular marble fountain.”

  2. Pirouz says:

    My Iranian aunt was part of the official Iran delegation to the International Women’s Year at the United Nations in 1975. She left Iran in 1978 and is very anti-regime (she currently works for Voice of America in DC).

    So back in 2008 she returned to Tehran for a brief stay of a few months. After she’d returned, I asked her how was her stay? Her reply was “wonderful.”

    She’s still anti-regime (thinks Iran should have a liberal interpretation of Western liberal secularism, however unrealistic that is) but she had to concede the capitol city and its residents have very much socially matured and progressed.

  3. Rd. says:

    “A few simple statistics can help capture the contradictions unleashed by two decades of revolutionary Islamic rule. The Islamic Republic lowered the minimum age for marriage of girls from 16 years to 9 years – a highly controversial move, which effectively sanctioned child marriage. And yet, the mean age at first marriage for women before the Revolution was 19.7 years (1976); twenty years later it had gone up to 22.4 years (2003) [now it is 24 (2011)]. Female literacy, which was 35.6 percent in 1976, rose to 80 percent in 1999 (and for rural women it rose from 17.4 percent to 62.4 percent), and by 2001 more than 50 percent of university students were women.”

  4. fyi says:

    From Previous Thread –

    Fiorangela says:

    January 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    In the 4-th paragraph from the bottom we read:

    “The problem of the western political bullies ….is that Iran refuses to surrender to their demands. And of course, it is clear that this problem will not be resolved”

    To me, this means that at the highest state level in Iran, there is no expectation of the resolution of the confrontation between Axis Powers and Iran.

    In practical terms, it means that Iranians will attend this or that negogiating session on this or that topic, they will make their speeches, they will listen to the other side, and then they will go home.

    And at home and in their near-abroad I epxect them to so what they can to advance their interests as well as that of their allies – ignoring the noises of Axis Powers as well as Russia.

    Furthermore, in another speech, duringthe same trip but earlier ( Mr. Khamenei stated:

    “Today they claim that the problem is the nuclear issue. They pretend that if the Iranian nation gives up nuclear energy, the sanctions will be lifted. They are lying. Out of malice and spite, they impose irrational sanctions on us, sanctions which all wise and just people throughout the world consider as irrational and savage. This is a war against a nation.”

    Again, at the highest state level, it is rcognized and understood that Iran and her allies are in a possibly existential war. That is why Iranians ignore Axis Powers or others in Syria – they will do what they believe they must to safeguard their interests and the interests of their allies.

    Note that there is also no “give” in EU position either:

    So this confrontation will continue.

    Just like the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, the economic war against Iran will become useless over time and Axis Powers will be looking around to end it – while saving face. That is still several years into the future.

  5. James Canning says:


    Yes, very interesting piece about fine old houses in Kashan, and efforts by some to restore them. In NYT today.

  6. James Canning says:

    Perhaps one should note that India is getting a good deal of attention of late, regarding the treatment of women in that country.

    On another note, I recommend Philip Giraldi’s “Hagel, healthcare, and “America’s military decline'”

  7. k_w says:

    @Rd.: That’s in coincidence with the demographic transition.

  8. Babak says:

    The Kevan Harris Post that Rd posts to is fantastic, and should be read carefully by anyone looking to understand Iran. While important that that the Leveretts offer the counterbalance view not often seen by Americans, they don’t capture the contradictions that in Iranian society like Kevan Harris does.

    I really wish Kevan Harris would create an expanded article/post on this.

  9. James Canning says:


    Khamenei is not correct when he claims the western powers demand that Iran give up nuclear energy.

    Unless he is referring solely to Israel.

  10. fyi says:

    Rd. says:

    January 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Ameircans are proud to now stand for sexual perversion; elevating it to the status of marriage – all the while poking their noses into the affairs of womenfolk of other people.

    It would be too much to expect them to show any decent concern for the lot of the orphan Dalit girls in India, forced into the status of temple prostitutes in hundreds of villages all over India – specially in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

  11. James Canning says:


    Surely Iran’s government would lose some “face” if it unilaterally stops enriching to 20% without getting sufficiently obvious concessions from the P5+1 in return. Iran’s existence obviously would not be threatened.