Iran Cultural Issues and History
Known as Persia until 1935, Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 after the ruling monarchy was overthrown. The main language spoken is Persian and the religion is Muslim. During 1980-1988, Iran fought a bloody, indecisive war with Iraq that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf. The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities and comply with its IAEA obligations and responsibilities.
Iranian society presents a puzzle for most standard social science analysis of social structure. Social mobility is also eminently possible in Iran such as high status is precarious. There is a symbiotic relationship between superior and inferior. Women have always had a strong role in Iranian life, but rarely a public role. Brave and often ruthlessly pragmatic, women are more than willing to take to the streets for a good public cause. Moreover, although the world focuses increasingly on the question of female dress as an indicator of progress for women in Iran, this is a superficial view. Women have served in the legislature and as government ministers since the 1950s. The difficulty for the leaders of the Islamic republic in allowing women complete equality in employment and public activity revolves around religious questions of female modesty that run head-to-head with the exigencies of public life. Islam requires that both women and men adopt modest dress that does not inflame carnal desire. For men this means eschewing tight pants, shorts, short-sleeved shirts, and open collars. Iranians view women's hair as erotic, and so covering both the hair and the female form are the basic requirements of modesty. For many centuries women in Iran have done this by wearing the chador, a semicircular piece of dark cloth that is wrapped expertly around the body and head, and gathered at the chin. Makeup of any kind is not allowed. In private, women dress as they please, and often exhibit fashionable, even daring, clothing for their female friends and spouses. For Iranians, marriage is a significant event, which must be celebrated with glory and distinction. It is the most conspicuous of all occasions and is celebrated with a large congregation of friends and relatives. In the past the parents and the older members of the family arranged almost all marriages. This is still the case in rural areas and with traditional families. Modern couples, however, choose their own mate, but their parents’ consent is still very important and is considered by both sides.
For Iranians, having children is regarded a blessing and a very important life task to be accomplished by married couples. All major religions in the area have recommended having children. Both the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian and Islamic literatures advise the young that being married is preferable and having children is far more praiseworthy than not having any. Marriage is a contract to legitimately produce children through a legitimate sexual act between a male and a female. Life after death has been a major theme in all the religions and the passage from this life into the other has been dealt with in a variety of ways, depending on the particular belief system. National Holiday and Celebrations:
• Republic Day, 1 April (1979)
• Nowruz, the New Year
• Pre-Islamic Iranian Celebrations
• Islamic Festivals & Mourning
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the United States, and accuses Israel of occupation and racism during a speech to the U.N. General Assembly. The United States announces new economic sanctions against Iran targeted to impact the country's military and halt Tehran's disputed nuclear program. A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate report finds that Iran stopped developing nuclear weapons in 2003, but continues to enrich uranium and could still develop atomic...
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