Living in the United States, it's sometimes hard to imagine a world where divorce is such a taboo topic. But in Iran, there's a split happening with divorce between the general population and the country's heavily influential religious clerics. While the people of Iran are now at the point of having lavish divorce parties, the clerics have only dug their heels in condemning divorces.
Local media outlets and blogs have been abuzz for months about lavish parties, complete with sarcastic invitations and humorous cakes, for couples splitting up. The phenomenon has become so widespread in Tehran and other large cities that one prominent cleric said couples who throw these parties are "satanic".
Last month, Mustafa Pour Mohammadi, the current justice minister who is also a cleric, said that having 14 million divorce cases within the judiciary is "not befitting of an Islamic system," according to the Iranian Students News Agency.
And while the clerics denouncing divorce as a societal ill may seem like nothing new, there may be an even more sinister reasoning for it — the rise of female influence in the new Iran.
"There has been a big growth in individualism in Iran, especially among women. Women are more educated and have increased financial empowerment," said Hamid Reza Jalaipour, a sociologist at Tehran University. "It used to be that a woman would marry, and she would just have to get along. Now if she's not happy, she'll separate. It's not taboo."
Rise in divorce in Iran linked to shift in status of women (Reuters)