Monday, November 12, 2007
Iranian women in the Imperial Armed Forces
The women of Iran (Persia) played a major role in society before the Arabs invaded Iran and imposed their ideology of Islam on Iranian society.
Pre-Islamic Iran had Empresses such as Pourandokht and Azarmidokht who were in charge of the Empire and were given the title of Shahanshah (King of Kings). The historical Iranian Navy of that time had a well-known female Commander by the name of Artemis; various other high positions of power in the Armed Forces were also held by women.
From the time of the Arab invasion of Persia (around 600 AD) up to the early 1930's (almost 1400 years) Iranian women were not allowed to play a role in society due to the foreign, backward and anti-Iranian ideology of Islam, which through its adversaries were in control of Iran.
Come the Pahlavi era (1930 -1979) Iranian women once again became involved in state-affairs - as the Pahlavi King's reduced the power and influence of the Muslim clergy, who up until the arrival of Reza Shah the Great had an immense control over Iranian society. Reza Shah the Great made sure to reduce the political grip which the Mullah's (Islamic clergy) had held confing them to a mere religious role in which they were restricted in as well since the King did not look positively upon this backward ilk and their detrimental ideology. As early as 1933 Mrs. Marzieh Arfaee (Doctor) joined the Imperial Armed Forces with the rank of Capt. and became the first Iranian woman after 1400 years of Islamic occupation to gain the rank of General in the Imperial Iranian military.
In 1935 Mrs. Ozra Asgar Gilani became the first woman in the Imperial Iranian Air Force.
In 1939 a group of 9 women were enrolled in a pilot training program in Iran and Mrs. Effat Tejaratchi became the first Iranian woman to be given a pilot license (trained with the Tiger Mouth aircraft).
The first helicopter license was issued to Princess Fatemeh (Gen. Khatami's wife).
In 1966 the first series of women graduated from the Imperial Iranian Airforce (IIAF) in several fields including Electronic, Radar, Medical, Air Craft Maintenance, Flight crew, Air Traffic Controllers and Communication.
The first Iranian woman to become a senior officer in the IIAF was Maj. Parvaneh Noorvar (Doctor).
With the advent of the foreign sponsored Islamic coup in Iran 1979 the status of Iranian women were once again reduced to that of half a man according to Islamic laws and were disbanded from the armed forces and many other sectors. Today the immense progress that had been achieved during the Pahlavi Dynasty has been severely set back but the mullah's have found it troublesome to revoke some of the rights which women gained during the Pahlavi Era.
With the ending of the 2nd Arabo-Muslim Occupation of Iran (1979-Present) and the establishment of an Iranian Government, one that safeguards Iranian culture, Iranian women will regain the honorable position which they hold in our society. God bless all Iranian women who have struggled and fought for their rights under the current anti-Iranian Islamic Republic.
Also see: The IIAF page on Iranian women