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Signs Of Iran-Egypt Thaw At Al-Sisi Inauguration

There is a more than three-decade-long clash of cultures between Egypt's secular establishment and Iran's post-revolution clerical regime. The brief interlude following the election of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was, alas, too brief to notice any significant change.

But all eyes in Tehran were back on Egypt this past weekend for the inauguration of General Abdulfattah al-Sisi after his election as president. Iran sent Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir'abdollahian to the investiture ceremony.

For a sense of the deep skepticism in some Iranian quarters, the conservative daily Jomhuri-e Eslami called Sisi the man "who considers himself president of Egypt," noted Iran's ISNA news agency.

The paper deplored Iran's decision to acknowledge Sisi's election, observed that as the event broadcast on Egyptian television showed, "Sisi practically exchanged more courtesies and diplomatic conversation with Amir'abdollahian than other state heads and representatives."

The reason, it stated, "was that Sisi wanted to show the cameras he had Iran's approval." It concluded that Sisi was the great beneficiary of these images, while Iran had made a "blatant strategic mistake" by recognizing a "coup leader" as president.

It is never entirely sure what Iran could have wanted from Egypt in the past 30 years — except possibly its good offices with the West and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Presidents Hosni Mubarak and al-Sisi.

— Ahmed Shayegan

Photo: Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua/ZUMA

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Society

Hysterical To Hypersexual: Bogus Female Diseases Have Always Held Women Down

Throughout history, women have been overdiagnosed with mainly psychiatric ailments and syndromes that have already been ruled out, from hysteria to nymphomania. This distorted portrait, which had its golden age in the 19th century, has been questioned in recent decades by the research community.

Female patient with "sleep hysteria" wearing a straight jacket in La Salpêtrière hospital in Paris.

Beatriz de Vera

"Born weak and sensitive, the woman, faithful companion of man, deserves the most lively interest and presents a vast field for the meditations of philosophers and doctors." This is how the Treatise on the Diseases of Women begins, a text from 1844 that aims to be an update of everything known by medicine about women to date.

The "fair sex" or the "angel in the house" were names used by some scientists of the 19th century, who underpinned the notion of the "weaker sex" in the collective imagination to refer to women.

“The physical modifications that constitute the beauties of women are in inverse proportion to those that constitute those of men. The features of her face have fine and pleasant proportions, her feet are smaller and her hands are delicate, her arms, thighs and legs are thicker, the muscles of all her limbs are sweetly demarcated with undulating lines”, writes the doctor Baltasar de Viguera in Female physiology and pathology (1827).

For De Viguera, who recounted the sensitivity and delicacy in forms, senses and character of women, their qualities had to do with "the organs of the womb."

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