Because I'm from Israel my team couldn't get into Iran but other teams got into Iran and all of them were extremely surprised.
Iranians know how to welcome tourists, they were extremely friendly, the food is delicious, the country is beautiful, and many people are open-minded.
The problem in Iran is their politicians and the image created around the radical Iranian regime
Iranian leadership is not crazy group of religious lunatics. Ayatollahs are very conservative group of politicians who use religion for political control. There is nothing there that can't be explained by normal power politics. They have goals and constraints. Their main goal internationally is to become regional power with recognized influence. They see themselves as protectors of the Shia Muslims. Destroying Israel is not any of those goals. It's more of a cynical tool to keep connections into into Shia Arabs and Palestinians.
For the Shia living outside Iran (mainly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen) Iran is big brother that helps, but is often too controlling for their taste. The West has a tendency to see all Shia groups as mindless Iranian puppets. In reality it's the function of the situation and options they have. Iraqi Shia leaders have established connection with the US and are playing US and Iran for their own goals. Houthis in Yemen are not Iranian puppets. They have their own fight for their own reasons. Iran is just the only one to help them.
Many IR experts see that there is possibility for "the great bargain" with Iran. It would include recognizing Iran's position as big regional power and deal with Israel. It would also diminish the position of Saudi Arabia. The conflict is between Saudi Arabia and Iran over influence is real.
It's not the motivation, it's the use. From a classical liberal western perspective, the government explicitly using religion for control is being a crazy religious lunatic.
We're talking about a country where Islam is the official religion, renouncing it is illegal, and so is blasphemy against it. For Gods' sake, to apply to university you have to pass an exam on Islamic theology! With that as a baseline, you hardly need to go any further before you look like a completely kooky religious crazyman.
There is no justification to not having Iran as an ally instead of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.
Yes, Saudi Arabia is also full of religious crazies. Anyone who pays attention to the news knows about Wahhabism, and the morality/religious police there.
For the second point, for that to work it has to apply to the Iranian regime as much as to the west. What justification do they have for not having the west as an ally? It has to cut both ways, for the two sides to be able to meet in the middle.
The population is also far less 'bought in' to these rules and police has a hard time enforcing clothing regulations for example.
In terms of religous freedom and religous pluralism Iran is leaps and bounds ahead of Saudi Arabia and many of the Arab states.
> Iranian leadership is not crazy group of religious lunatics.
And here you are saying that it's the leadership with all these crazy rules, enforcing them on a perhaps-unwilling populace.
The article and many comments point that there is a big gap between how we imagine Iran, and how Iran is really is.
Their idiology informs their forign policy, but so much is true for all nations.
But they're still often thought of as religious kooks, because of the views they espouse. Same kind of deal here.
We should be carful of such simplistic binaries between idiology and state interest.
My point is this, they way they go their national interest is defently inspired by idiological ways of thinking.
* Enforces religious laws on all citizens, and sometimes externally (like the Salman Rushdie case), even when paying a significant price for it.
* Has multiple outsider militia directly swearing loyalty to its leader based on religious connections.
* Repeatedly swears it wants to destroy Israel, and 'Death to America' is a repeated slogan.
'Conclusion:' the leaders don't believe all that stuff.
I think the issue here is that some Westerns that can't believe that anyone actually has different opinions than their modern opinions. Since these people are secular, all religious people are seen as merely engaging in power-play. We can see this attitude often in popular histories...
For sure they enforces religious laws more than most of other countries, but again there is often a gap between what people picture and and the reality. My well educated brother was for example surprise that many girl wear scarf in a way to show half of their hairs, or that Iran pays for the transition of some transgender person. Definitely more liberal than Saudi Arabia...
Most countries that can find ways to boost their international influence. Suporting militia or countries is one way (like USA supporting kurdish militia in Iran°, but religion is only part of the equation. For example Iran supports Sunni groups (Hamas being the most famous)or country (use to get ties with Sudan). Religion helps. But money and military support is the cornerstone here. And many groups needs Iran, but don't like it, its control, have different agenda.
Repeatedly swears it wants to destroy Israel (good communication) but never do anything really in this direction. They have plenty of opportunity but don't act. Cause that is definitely not very important for them, and not realistic. A slogan is a slogan...
Conclusion: Iran is a dictatorship, a theocracy, and is in a fight with USA. Most of their leader are convinced Shia Muslim, but the way they acts shows that they are more guided by Iranian interest and regime / self interest preservation than crazy cleric fighting for primary for Shia everywhere in the world... And while it is a regime I hate, it is clear to me there is a big gap between the perception of Iran and the reality
* Paying for transgender tranisition is enforcing their religious laws - their version of Shia Islam is OK with the tranisition since they see it as a method of 'fixing' homosexuality. It's basically their version of a 'conversion treatment'. As wiki puts it:
"They sanction funds for sex reassignment surgery in order to fit all of their citizens into the category of either male or female without any grey area for those who are homosexual or transgender."
* Iran doesn't do anything to harm Israel except for multi-decade direct funding and military support for every anti-Israel organizations in the neighbourhood.
Again, there's this narrowmindedness in the West that simply can't understand feelings and ideas outside it, including ideas that people in the West once had, and is in particular blind to religious zeal.
I have another view: The problem with Iran is the USA siding with Saudi Arabia. Both Iran and S.A. are radical islamists countries (one could even argue that S.A. is worse). But somehow Iran is portrayed as evil and S.A. is given a blank check.
I'm 95% certain that Iran politicians will hail U.S.A if they were to change sides.
What argument could there possibly be that Iran is “worse” than S.A.? As bad as things like human rights are in Iran, they are far worse in SA.
The democracy index (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index) rates SA a half point lower than Iran, which is fairy significant.
Freedom house also rates SA as less free than Iran:
Hard to find any measure by which Iran is less humane than SA.
Its quite easy to make an argument that the Iranian regime is worse than Saudi Arabia. Iran has killed far more dissidents than Saudi Arabia ever has. For gosh sakes, Iran killed thousands of dissidents in the span of a couple months with the confirmed death toll at a low end of 4,500. Saudi Arabia has never done anything like this, and in fact, Saudi Arabian policy has always fluctuated between crackdowns and trying to accommodate islamist elements by being willing to show leniency; even making decisions to let prisoners go free en masse over several periods. Iran has always had zero tolerance for dissident elements whatsoever. Iran's leaders believe, after all, that the revolution is under constant threat from both internal and external enemies. This isn't to 'defend' saudi arabia and its security services but only to point out a difference that is essentially unknown to the general public.
At the very least, Iran's economic performance has been catastrophic even before the sanctions imposed over its nuclear program. The goal of an oil rich state should be to pump as much oil as possible to the broadest possible market. By this standard, Iran has been the worst performer in the middle east aside from countries at war and its populace is significantly poorer under the current regime than it would be otherwise.
The same thinking influences their foreign policy. Iran takes actions fundamentally destabilizing within the broader middle east because it believes the current state system poses an existential threat to it. Saudi Arabia doesn't believe this at all. Trying to reconcile islamist elements with a broadly pro-western foreign policy has been the modus operandi of saudi leaders since the cold war. You may take Iran's side but that doesn't mean their policy interests are somehow compatible with a nation state interested in preserving the status quo.
There is NO WAY any Iranian government would simply give up its rocket program, specially when literally every power around you has them. Specially when they don't have an Airforce.
Iran has complied and tried to work with the international system on the nuclear question. They have behaved pretty reasonably going back to early 2000s. Their demands and programs are not outrages if any other country had made them.
The US wants to destory and overthrow all of their allies and the have bases in basically every country around Iran.
In reality econoimc sanctions do not collapse a country, the evidence of that is pretty clear. And it doesn't lead to regimn change either.
I don't think it's "crazy" to go with U.S demands. it requires letting go of ego and the dream of the shiite revolution and empire I guess, or at least postponing it. It's like saying Kim from North Korea is would be crazy to let go of his crazy regime, how is that crazy?
Nobody is crazy about anybody else than themselves having ballistic missile and nuclear war head (which is not yet the case of Iran)
Every country try to build influence outside. Saudi Arabia is more responsible of the situation of Yemen than Iran is. SA supported jihadist group in Syria, support armed group in Libya and Lebanon, have bought some influence in Sudan, Egypt... Pour hundred of million to support quietist salafist... SA builds its influence and defend its interest, like any country.
What Trump is currently asking is a no go for Iranian... Each part is building force to find a new deal, to force a better deal. Sanctions is part of it. Supporting proxy is another.
That just fear mongering. Iran is neither developing missiles that can carry warheads, nor do they have the nuclear material for warheads nor do they have the technology for warheads.
The missles Iran are developing are conventional missiles for mid-range applications. They actual understand that Europe doesn't want them to be able to attack Europe.
In fact Saudi Arabia and pretty much every other country has missiles. In fact Saudi Arabia illigally bought intercontinental missles from China and were not held accountable at all, but Iran is supposed to beg to be allowed even basic missles?
Demanding that Iran can not have missles when everybody else has them is unreasonable.
> Iran is responsible for destabilising oil supplies recently
Iran has 'destabalised' oil supply far less then constant arab and US oil polices. For most of its history Iran was consistant conservative oil producers and they are still.
Its frankly laughable for the West to claim 'Iran' is destabalizing the oil market, given things like Iraq War. Multible massive embargos against countries like Iran, Iraq and so on.
> is 100% responsible for arming Hezbollah
Hezbollah is no longer a pure subsidiary as it was in the past. They are independned power that allied with Iran. They still get some of their important arms from Iran, but to think of Hezbollah as '100% reliant on Iran' is a wrong.
> and of course extends it's influence to Yemen
Iran had no interest in Yemen and had basically no relationship with Houthi. The Houthi took over Yemen before they were really supported by Iran. Only once the Saudis started a full on war against them, did Iran change its policy and started to support the Houthi in order to bleed Saudi Arabia.
Iran didn't cause anything in Yemen and the Houthi are no-where near the same relationship with them as they have with Hezbollah. The Houthis are just a group that is fighting Saudi Arabia for its own reason and Iran using Saudi Arabia bad polices against them.
Its Western and Saudi stupidity that they handed the Houthi to Iran, as the Houthi were actually more or less payed of by the Saudis for a long time and even had good relations with the West.
> Saudi Arabia is doing none of that and doesn't seem to care that much about building an empire of "influence" around the middle east.
Maybe you simply don't pay attention to Middle East politics but that is an absurd statment.
- Saudi Arabia just reasently kidnapped the prime minister of Lebanon.
- The enacted a blockade of Qatar
- The funded the Egyption Military Coup against Muslim Brothers and democracy
- They are fighting a war in Yemen (more agressive then anything Iran has done in 100 years)
- They are fighting a proxy war against UAE in Yemen as well (just for good measure)
- They activly try to change Islam to make it more like their own (Wahhabism) both in the ME and world wide
- They clearly funded very nasty groups in Syria including ISIS (early on) and later groups like Al-Nusra
The list goes on and on ...
> I don't think it's "crazy" to go with U.S demands. it requires letting go of ego and the dream of the shiite revolution and empire I guess, or at least postponing it. It's like saying Kim from North Korea is would be crazy to let go of his crazy regime, how is that crazy?
Iran has already given up pretty much everything that is reasonable yet it has absolutly no effect on the policy that persue.
They have no nuclear weapons program and that has been confirmed by all intellegence services. They don't even demand the full rights they have under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. They signed the extended treaty and then to double reassure the international community the signed the most restrictive nuclear treaty in the history of the IAEA. They observed the signed treaty and that was confirmed over and over again by IAEA. The effect, US didn't release sanction but betrayed the treaty and recreated the sanction. But yet you still demand that Iran changes the way its doing things?
In terms of rocket development they have already, without even a treaty, stopped the program to develop intercontinental missiles.
So yes, Iran is treated incredibly unfairly in the international system specially considering their historical role, practical power and ability to work with the West if their is mutual interst (such as nuclear treaty, fighting ISIS, fighting Taliban and so on) this is incredibly unreasonable and totally hypocritical.
And yes, for the leaders of those countries, simply giving up would be crazy. As most likly they and their famillies would be killed.
That the US is opposed to Iran has nothing today with human rights or gays or anything like that.
> which I doubt, since as I said it cooperates with Western interests
Again, you seem to suffer under the delusion that the West interest have something to do with human rights.
Its really not up for debate, SA is less Western in pretty much every single way. Both win the governemnt and far more so when you consider the population.
> If they wanna commit financial suicide that's on them.
So being stranggled against the your will or the will of your population is now 'commiting suicide'?
These sanction make the Revolutionary Guard stronger, not weaker. Pure sanctions have proven again and again that they do not lead to regimn or even policy change.
But lets just continue to hurt the population for no reason because it feels good to do something about some PR stories that have nothing to do with the actual conflict.
If your analyisis of US forign policy includes "US does X because country Y is against gay rights" or "because its a totalitarian regime" then you are already totally deluded yourself about what is happening in international politics.
Half the countries that are allied with the US would be opponents if they cared about thise things thus analysis of issues with that premis are non-starter.
The US has supported groups and countries that are far, far worse in each of those aspects, that makes the US position totally clear. It simply doesn't care.
Thus its utter hypocracy to claim its hostility with Iran is based on those things are simply lies to confuse the uninformed US population.
> it's a destabilising element in the region
I would argue that's not actually true. That is, the US media likes to talk about it, because everything that the US doesn't like 'is destabalizing' but is it destabalizing to what? The US interest, not the region itself.
In reality of course the main destabalizing force in the ME is the US itself. The Iraq war is and was the most destabalizing event in modern ME history. Afganistan, Lebanon, trying to overthrow Assad and the list goes on.
Iran supports Assad against Rebelion. The US calles that 'destabalizing', well that regmin has existed for 40 years and the US policy of overthrowing it was actually the destabalizing factor. If the Assad regmin would fall, anybody knowlagable about Syria will tell you that the possible replacments are far, far worse then Assad. The US knew this and thus never went all-in against Assad, they got smarter after Iraq.
Iran supports Hezbollah, who are a part of the Lebanese government and whatever you want to say about them, they are not a destabalizing force. In fact Hezbollah was primarly responsable for defeating ISIS on the boarder to Lebanon and preventing ISIS to spread into Lebanon.
Iran fought ISIS in Iraqi-Kurdistan and in Iraq. In fact Iran was vital to those battles (even while the US takes all the credit). Is fighting the most evil terrorist regmin that has existed in 100s of years destablizing? Or the opposite?
Iran has allowed Qatar to use its airspace when Saudi Arabia started to blockade them. They also traded with Qatar, even when they were not really friendly with each other.
So please tell me, is fighting ISIS and opposing Saudi Arabian aggression in Qatar and Yemen 'destabalizing'? No it is not. Its simply against the US interest.
No compare this to US allies. Is it destabalizing to send a massive air and land army into Yemen as Saudis and UAE have done? Is it destabalizing to blockade another country? Is it destabalizing to support Whabi radicals in Syria rather then fight them? Is it destbalizing to destroy a democracy threw a military coup?
> Russia and North Korea got sanctions for their behavior, I don' see why Iran shouldn't. Their population is far from starving. I tend to agree the sanctions have yet to prove themselves, but it's a much better tool than full blown war which nobody wants.
I don't think sanction in some cases are totally unreasonable. If Iran invaded Basra (equivalent of taking Crima) then sanction would make sense. But the sanctions are not for any of these things mentioned above.
They are because of a missile program that doesn't even get them up to parity with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Israel. And are thus unreasonable against a country with 90 million people and legit security questions on its boarders.
The other set of sanctions are because of their nuclear program that they have addressed with a internationally binding treaty. They reassured and rereassured everybody about that program. However the US, despite all the evidence of both their own security services, the IAEA and international pressure have gone back on the deal.
So, once Iran invades Basra, or once Iran actually tries to build nuclear weapons, I will argue with you if sanction them makes sense. Currently they simple don't.
I know first hand how wonderful Israelis are, I have worked with plenty of talented Israeli software engineers as well as Jewish only owned companies.
I can only hope for a future where our two countries can work hand in hand and collaborate. Perhaps my I am naive in thinking this but what else is there as opposed to strive for a better future?
Add me and send a message here:
And as for proof for the reaching the Mongol Rally finish line:
Yes, there are a number of bad illiberal policies they have, but the bad is played up hugely while the good is minimized.
Judging an entire nation by the ugliness of its politicians would be short sighted.
We, us regular folk, have more in common with each other, with our global neighbours, than we ever will the ruling class.
Not every US citizen is a Trump support, and not every Trump supporter is a buffoon. And Australian and UK politics are simply too embarrassing to even mention.
... and lost their ability to enter the US under ESTA. Thanks Obama!
"...life-quality pressures in less gender-equal countries promote girls’ and women’s engagement with STEM subjects."
The above paper didn't include Iran (I think?) but Tunisia, UAE, Algeria and Turkey all had the most proportion of women in STEM and the lowest gender equality out of all the countries.
They are probably entering university not because Iran is friendly towards women and girls but because their society is unfriendly towards them. Iran certainly has a very low Global Gender Gap index. In the bottom 5 countries in the world. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf
The way I see it, a lack of women in STEM is a symptom of a healthy economy, who wouldn't want to not deal with spaghetti code if money was not an issue?
Exactly. What is observable in Japan, where a decent job can still provide for a whole family, is that more than half of women choose to be stay-at-home mom. This is not a plot of "the Patriarchy" but something that make sense for them.
On the other side, the current trend in the West to promote women and foreigner work under the diversity meme could be reasonably interpreted as scheme from the big companies to lower wages even further.
more anecdata: a Japanese friend of mine moved back to Japan (Tokyo) after 10 years in the states to raise her 2 kids. She tried to get a job and was told "go home and take care of your kids" by several companies. She moved back to the USA after realizing how much she no longer belongs.
note I've heard the idea the as a society gets more prosperous women seem to choose less STEM options. That might be true but I don't think Japan is a good example.
> Paradoxically, the sex differences in the magnitude of relative academic strengths and pursuit of STEM degrees rose with increases in national gender equality
> A mediation analysis suggested that life-quality pressures in less gender-equal countries promote girls’ and women’s engagement with STEM subjects
Japan might not be a great example, but the Nordic countries are.
> You might imagine that you heard a supervisor tell a young lady in the office “Hey, you’re 30 and aging out of the marriage market, plus I hear you’re dating someone who is not one of my employees, so you might want to think about moving on soon.”, but that would be radioactively illegal, since Japanese employment discrimination laws are approximately equivalent to those in the US. A first-rate Japanese company would certainly never do anything illegal, and a proper Japanese salaryman would never bring his company into disrepute by saying obviously untrue things like the company is systematically engaged in illegal practices. So your ears must be deceiving you. Pesky ears.
Far leftists and neo-feminists don't like this of course because it doesn't sit with their narrative that "the patriarchy" is the cause of everything today they don't agree with.
I think the idea is that STEM attainment confers social status, and in cultures with low gender equality it's one of the few ways girls can gain social status independently of men. They can then leverage that status to gain economic and other freedoms.
Boys on the other hand have other ways available to them to gain economic advantage, which are not easily available to girls in those societies.
And we can be similarly reductive about any profession. Lawyers are just paper pushers, academics are glorified grant Chasers, and so on
That's the question basically. Would it :)? One side says it would the other says that genders are statistically different.
- Boys on the other hand have other ways available to them to gain economic advantage
I don't know about them. Sure, the 0.1% of them can be politicians / CEOs, but it's not "available" for people in general ( it requires a very specific personality IMHO ). I don't think 10-20-30% differences could be explained by this small portion.
For most men gaining economic advantage _is_ about getting a good job, and that's the only option.
In many of these countries there are a huge variety of jobs that are not available to women, because their ability to interact with men who are strangers is highly restricted. So most commercial, industrial and many administrative roles are not available, because they would involve often meeting 'random' men. In some of the countries, women can't even serve men in shops.
That cuts it down to basically office jobs or educational institutions where the men around you are a stable restricted group, that it's possible to gain social acceptance for, or jobs involving meeting men in highly controlled situations.
Even then, for many administrative roles in these cultures jobs are obtained through contacts and private arrangements rather than through an open jobs market. Again that's largely not available to women because these networks are almost entirely male and again lack of ability to associate freely with men closes them off.
STEM is different because it's jobs are only available to people with specific, quantifiable qualifications and skill the possession of which is an objective fact, verifiable through credentials. That's where the status comes from. Social networks and personal opinions of suitability aren't good enough for employers to fill all the roles they have open, so they have to look to a wider jobs market. They can't afford to close those roles to half or more of the available work force, so they have to make arrangements to suit women's working conditions or lose out on skilled candidates.
"Paradoxically, boys’ overestimation of their competence in science was larger in countries with higher Global Gender Gap Index scores."
That is, the lower the gender gap, the more boys overestimate their science skill.
I'm not sure how you can hypothesize these things without any historical and cultural context
You can oppose Western policy if you like, but lets talk about the country's policies as they really are.
Turkey is quite connected to Germany even though many don't want to admit that, so I would agree that, superficially at least, it looks more western-ish.
But IIRC a couple of years ago there was a coup attempt in Turkey, lots of journalists, academics, judges, etc. were instantaneously thrown into jail, etc. So I'm unsure how much of that "western-look" that Turkey has is real and how much is just a facade. Is there democracy in Turkey? Is there freedom of opinion? Freedom of press? Religious freedom?
I'm not arguing whether Iran is better or worse, and I'm not suggesting that we should only measure both countries in, e.g., LGBT rights, but while Turkey might not be exactly Iran, I actually put closer to Iran than to its Greek neighbor in the "progressive" scale.
I think the implicit comparison here is to Israel and Saudi Arabia. The later of which our leadership seems to have nothing but good things to say even after 9/11, Khashoggi, and Yemen(with weapons from us).
Now, condemning SA is perfectly justified. But 'look over there' isn't a helpful argument re: Iran. It sounds like the same hypocrisy the US government does, except the US government at least has some foreign policy justification for it (Iran being more powerful and more hostile to US), while commenters are just being contrarian.
But would that really be that terrible in the grad scheme of things? Would you not wear a mandatory hat and renounce on sport events if everything else was faily good? This only seems like massive oppression from our privileged western view.
And yes, I'm a privileged westerner, but that doesn't exactly seem relevant.
East Germany allowed total nudity on the beach (and also didn't ban burkinis, as far as I know, unlike certain countries that claim to believe in Liberté). Was East Germany less oppressive than the UK?
"and its not as corrupt." -- au contraire!
"Since 2016 accession negotiations have stalled. The EU has accused and criticized Turkey for human rights violations and deficits in rule of law. In 2017, EU officials expressed that planned Turkish policies violate the Copenhagen criteria of eligibility for an EU membership. On 26 June 2018, the EU's General Affairs Council stated that "the Council notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union. Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen.""
"20 February 2019 - EU parliament committee votes to suspend accession talks with Turkey."
It appears like any other Islamic country, street life is as 'normal' as it maybe in Dubai or Pakistan or Egypt.
Dec 2018: Iran's Got Street Life
"Our biggest motivation... is to hopefully inspire anyone wanting to travel, and also try to break the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad wrap [sic] in the media,"
I think if there were Iranians flying drones near a US military base, prison would be an upgrade from whatever treatment they’d get.
1. Before university boys and girls learn in separate schools.
2. After university women have almost zero chances for career. It is more probably that they will end up being house wives.
I doubt that this has changed in a year. I have not checked my facts - that's impression from speaking with open minded Iranian families (and we have met various families).
Basically, university is one of the rare chances for women in Iran not to marry their cousin.
Sounds like Iran is roughly in the same place now, which I assume is a big improvement over some decades ago. Just give it another generation.
Anecdotally, I've tought some CS classes at the local university, to a highly mixed crowd. The Iranian students, every year, were somehow all female, and they were invariably among the top of their class. I'm going to be very surprised if these particular women turn out to become housewives.
I think there were and there is huge difference between some area in Tehran and different places in the countryside
That there is difference between capital and countryside is not surprising. You'll find that in every nation except city states, throughout history - London compared to the rural parts of Yorkshire or the Scottish Islands. Washington DC compared to rural Ohio or Mississippi. Actually these days, London compared to everywhere else in the UK.
There is a pretty clear difference between Netherlands and Iran. The former isn't a dictatorship nor a theocracy.
The problem with Iran, in the first place is that it is an authoritarian theocracy with no freedom of speech, assembly and association, freedom of religion, right to fair trial, etc. I believe it's quite unreasonable to talk about gender equality, LGBT right and so forth until these are fixed.
Considering Stalin's regime it was quite progressive wrt gender equality for it's time: women had equal rights to vote (even if voting was meaningless), could study at universities and work almost any job they wanted. Still, it was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, and if I was a woman, I would probably prefer living in some less equal Western country at the time.
Overall I agree with you.
Substantial cultural or institutional change doesn’t happen in a year or even five years. Anecdotally, the time lines are 20-30 years, if not more. Some countries move faster than others.
I don’t think this metric is useless. No one is saying Iran is the bastion of women’s rights. But - More women achieving higher education is a good thing. The younger generations are certainly far more progressive from the anecdotes I’ve heard from Iranian friends.
Oh right, the USA's sanctions.
For comparison, the University of California system is 52% female  and the California State University is 56% female .
Aug 2017, The Atlantic: "Where men once went to college in proportions far higher than women—58 percent to 42 percent as recently as the 1970s—the ratio has now almost exactly reversed."
"This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year. And the trend shows no sign of abating. By 2026, the department estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women."
On the other hand in Europe also more women than men are entering university.
> 70% of of Iran's science and engineering students are women
This article talk about all universities and all fields. Not just science and engineering.
> Where men once went to college in proportions far higher than women—58 percent to 42 percent as recently as the 1970s—the ratio has now almost exactly reversed.
> This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year. And the trend shows no sign of abating. By 2026, the department estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women.
Not sure how it is in other Western countries though.