Agitation for women's rights in Iran is entwined with broader movements for freedom and reform that critique the Islamic Republic's shari'a law as discriminatory. Despite the foundation of these reform efforts in the social realities of contemporary Iran, anyone who critiques laws governing the rights of women is prone to the charge of insulting the sanctity and foundation of Islam and subject to harsh penalties. Reform efforts will be hamstrung until there is a foundation for open discourse and debate in Iran. Thus, human rights such as the right to freedom of expression and related rights must be seen as the fundamental basis for successful political and legal reform in Iran whether that reform is based in liberal Islam or secularism.
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