Iranian media outlets lashed out against Shahindokht Molaverdi, assistant to the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for women and family affairs, for suggesting that homeless women who are currently living in graveyards should be sterilized.
Molaverdi’s position is regarded as the top advocate for women in Iran.
Her suggestion came after the media exposed a story about 100 poor homeless people who live in south Teheran and have made graves their homes (the graves provide shelter from the cold and rain).
According to the newspaper Vatan-e Emrooz, the recommendation also came from a number of officials in the Tehran province and representatives of the parliamentary health committee.
The proposal was also brought up in meetings held in the Health ministry, where the possibility of sterilizing women who have been discarded by society to prevent them increasing the number of homeless people was discussed.
The Ilna news agency also quoted Sayawoosh Shaharayoor, head of the social and cultural affairs committee in south Tehran as saying, “We need to convince the poor homeless women who live in graveyards and on the streets in order to put an end to social catastrophes.”
Last week, a local council in south Tehran ordered the police to throw out all the homeless living in the Nasir Abad graveyard. Yet, instead of finding shelter for them, they were merely put on the streets.
According to a report by the government newspaper Shahrawand, 300 homeless people (men, women and children) lived in these graves — between one to four people per grave.
The Mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, said in October that more than 15,000 poor and homeless residents in Tehran live in cardboard boxes on the streets, including 3,000 women.