- Iran has charged Shahindokht Molaverdi with ‘spreading moral corruption’ for showing ‘deviant and reprehensible homosexual families’.
The Iranian president’s special assistant for citizenship rights, Shahindokht Molaverdi, is facing ‘depravity’ charges after ‘accidentally’ publishing an infographic showing LGBT+ families.
The image Molaverdi shared shows various types of families but includes two illustrations of same-sex families. One female couple holds a baby in the illustration while a male couple has a small child.
Molaverdi apparently posted the image on her Telegram channel to mark World Family Day – 15 May 2020.
Subsequently, Mashregh News published screenshots of Molaverdi’s Telegram post and wrote:
‘On the occasion of World Family Day, Molaverdi has published a post on her Telegram that depicts the deviant and reprehensible homosexual families made up of two women and a child and two men and a child.’
Security and judicial authorities then complained and the Culture and Media Court then indicted Molaverdi.
The Fars News Agency – technically an independent agency but in practice closely tied to the Iranian government – has now confirmed this.
Fars reports Molaverdi faces three charges, including ‘spreading moral corruption and depravity’.
Turn her into a pillar of salt
Molaverdi, 54, is an academic and jurist who has served Iranian President Hassan Rouhani since 2013. She became Rouhani’s special assistant for citizenship rights when he formed his second cabinet in 2017.
In response to the media reports and waves of attacks on social media, Molaverdi said she had accidently posted the image on her Telegram channel. Moreover, she says she quickly deleted it afterwards.
Meanwhile the Young Journalists Club quotes her as saying ‘I have not been notified of any such indictment’.
Nevertheless, influential social media profiles are continuing their campaign of hatred against her.
LGBT+ Iranian organization 6Rang says some have even ‘threatened her with the same disastrous fate as the one Lot’s wife meets in the Bible for promoting homosexuality’.
In Biblical myth, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah with some claiming this was divine punishment for the cities allowing homosexuality.
Lot and his family are able to free. But his wife, perhaps regretting the massacre and the loss of their home, looks back at Sodom. In punishment, God turns her into a pillar of salt.
However, in reality, Molaverdi faces a very real punishment. Article 639 of the Islamic Penal Code, gives one to 10 years in prison to anyone who encourages or incites people to moral corruption or depravity.
Depictions of LGBT+ people are rare in Iran. However, a few brave campaigners have put themselves at risk to take ‘secret Pride’ photos displaying the LGBT+ rainbow flag.