Zanan magazine

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first issue
Categories Women's magazine
Frequency Monthly
Founder Shahla Sherkat
Year founded 1992
Country Iran
Cover photo of 140th issue

Zanan magazine (ماهنامه زنان, meaning Women in English)[1] is a monthly women's magazine published in Iran. It is the only Persian women's magazine in the country.[2] The magazine ceased publication in 2008, but was relaunched on 29 May 2014. In September 2014, its founder and editor Shahla Sherkat was charged in Iran's Press Court (part of the Islamic Revolutionary Court) for promoting un-Islamic and "obsolete" views and in April 2015, publication of the magazine was again suspended.[3]


Zanan was established by Sherkat[4][5] in 1992 as a monthly magazine.[6][7] It promoted women's rights for 16 years and had a total of 152 issues.

Zanan focused on the concerns of Iranian women with an Islamic point of view and had intentions of protecting and promoting their rights.[7] However, the monthly magazine tested the political waters with its edgy coverage of reform politics, domestic abuse, and sex. Article topics covered controversial issues from domestic abuse to plastic surgery. It argued that gender equality was Islamic and that religious literature had been misread and misappropriated by misogynists. Mehangiz Kar, Shahla Lahiji, and Shahla Sherkat, the editors of Zanan, led the debate on women's rights and demanded reforms. The leadership did not respond but, for the first time since the revolution, did not silence the movement.[8]

In January 2008 the Iranian regime under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closed the magazine down for "endangering the spiritual, mental and intellectual health of its readers, and threatening psychological security of the society" claiming it showed women in a "black light."[9][10]

Relaunch and suspension[edit]

In June 2014, Zanan was relaunched by its original founder.[10][11] The magazine was renamed Zanan-e Emruz (Today's women) with both printed and online editions.[10]

In September, 2014, Sherkat was charged with publishing pictures of women "considered as objects" - a violation of the censorship laws.[12] The magazine itself was suspended in early 2015 after publishing its 10th issue. Iran's Press Oversight Committee stated that the magazine's content was "against public chastity, based on Article 6, Item 2 of the Press Law." The charges against Sherkat and the magazine's suspension were related to publication of a special issue discussing various aspects of cohabitation, dubbed "white marriage" in Iran - a practice that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced.[13] The special issue had been picked up by international press and the BBC published an article on the Zanan's coverage and the practice itself.[14]


  1. ^ Jules Crétois (4 April 2013). "Muslim Women Redefine Feminism". Al Monitor. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  2. ^ IRAN: Zanan, a voice of women, silenced, Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times, 29 January 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  3. ^ Brekke, Kira (3 September 2014). "Editor Of Iran's Zanan Magazine On Trial For Promoting Un-Islamic Views". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Reza Aslan (3 August 2009). "Iran's Most Wanted". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  5. ^ Shahla Sherkat. "Telling the Stories of Iranian Women’s Lives". Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Padraig Reidy (January 2008). "Iran: leading women’s magazine shut down". Index. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Sarah Ansari,; Vanessa Martin (1 May 2014). Women, Religion and Culture in Iran. Taylor & Francis. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-317-79339-7. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Women's movement: Zanan magazine Iranian
  9. ^ Shutting Down Zanan, New York Times editorial, 7 February 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  10. ^ a b c Nina Ansary (28 May 2014). "Iranian Women's Magazine Zanan Makes Comeback". W e-News. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Sameera Ehteram. "Once Banned, Iran's Only Women's Magazine Makes a Comeback". Carbonated TV. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Staff writer (27 April 2015). "Managing Editor of Banned Women’s Publication Hopes for Reversal of Decision". International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  13. ^ via Reuters in Ankara (27 April 2015). "Iran bans magazine after 'white marriage' special". The Guardian UK. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Rahimpour, Rana (10 December 2014). "Can Iran 'control' its cohabiting couples?". BBC (British Broadcasting Company). Retrieved 10 May 2015.