Last year, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, director in Iraq of a German-based charity, WADI—the Association for Crisis Assistance and Development Cooperation—said in an interview that FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan had declined dramatically, and that measurable success in stopping FGM there could be credited to the political change that began in 1991. “Saddam Hussein lost power here back in 1991. There is a relative degree of freedom,” von der Osten-Sacken said. That freedom—and other achievements by the Iraqi Kurds—were made possible, as should be recognized, by the decision of President George H.W. Bush to impose a “no-fly zone” over Iraqi Kurdistan.
By contrast, “the existence of FGM in Iran is a well-kept secret,” according to the organization Stop FGM Middle East. On November 25, 2014, Radio Farda, the U.S.-backed Farsi-language broadcast directed to Iran, aired a 30-minute documentary on FGM under the rule of the Islamic Republic. Translated by Stop FGM Middle East, the transcript revealed yet another cruel feature of Iranian life, reinforced by the hypocrisy of the ruling clerics.
Radio Farda noted that in 2014 Iran was added, for the first time, to the global list of countries in which FGM is present. The media agency interviewed Iranian researcher Rayeyeh Mozafarian, of the University of Shiraz, who accumulated interviews on FGM between 2007 and 2009. She stated, “FGM is carried out in private houses by midwives and not by surgeons in hospitals.” FGM goes unmentioned in Iranian law, which does criminalize mutilation of the body. But Mozafarian determined, “Despite the practice being liable to prosecution, practically nobody is charged. . . . No victim files charges against her own parents.”