Following the 1979 revolution, Iran became a theocratic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Newspapers and magazines opposing his rule were shut down (as happens in Gilead). Women were denied equal rights. Although university enrolment among women went up following the revolution, the marriage age for girls was lowered to 13; once married, they were forbidden to continue their education.
Women protested from the start, and in the 30 years since the Revolution many of the original policies have been suspended. However, segregation is still rigorously enforced and women caught by officials in mixed-sexed situations – however innocuous – can be forced into virginity tests. For pre-marital sex, the death penalty may be enforced.