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International Women’s Day Conference With the Participation of 170 Political Figures From 37 Countries

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Maryam Rajavi: Let Us Call This Year’s International Women’s Day, the Day of Resistance by the Women of Ukraine

On the eve of International Women’s Day, on Saturday, March 5, at an international conference entitled “Women Force for Change in Iran, Global Peace, and Stability.” Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), extended her warmest greetings to the proud people of Ukraine, especially the valiant women of that country, adding: Let us call International Women’s Day this year, the day of resistance by the women of Ukraine. And let us stand up and applaud them for one minute.

The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) Women’s gathering in Ashraf-3 in Albania joined the large conference in Berlin online. More than 170 political figures from 37 countries attended the conference. Speakers included, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), Rita Süssmuth, President of the Bundestag, Urška Bačovnik Janša, activist during the 2nd semester of 2021 Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, and the wife of the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, Frances Townsend, Homeland Security Advisor to United States President (2004-2007), Linda Chavez, former Director of White House office of Public Liaison (1985-1986), Ingrid Betancourt, former Senator and presidential candidate in Colombia, Mimi Kodheli, Chair of the Albanian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Minister of Defense (2013-2017), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense (2019-2021), Michèlle Alliot-Marie, Former Interior, Defense, Foreign and Justice Minister of France (2002-2007), Theresa Villiers, Member of the UK Parliament, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2019-2020), Two members of the Ukrainian Parliament, Lisa Yasko and Kira Rudyk, Dominique Attias, President of European Law Society Federation, Maria Carvalho, MEP, Minister for Science and Higher Education (2003-2005), Alessandra Moretti, MEP, member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Christina-Maria Bammel, Deputy Bishop of Berlin – German Protestant theologian, Sylvia Lehman, Member of the Bundestag from SPD, Susanna Ceccardi, MEP from Italy, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House Representatives, Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), Marilyn Strickland (D-Washington), Deborah Ross (D-North Carolina), Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia), Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut), Åse Kleveland, Minister of Culture of Norway (1990-1996), Marianne Binder-Keller, Member of the Swiss Federal Parliament, Michèle de Vaucouleurs, Member of the French National Assembly, Valeria Valente, Chair of the Italian Senate Women’s Committee, Els Ampe, Belgian Senator, Ranjana Kumari, Leading Women Activist from India, Emilia Cerqueira, Deputy of the Assembly of the Portuguese Republic, María Elena Elverdin, jurist and honorary President of International Federation of Women in Legal Career from Argentina, Ingjerd Schou, Member of Norwegian parliament, the Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2003-2005), as well as delegations from the European Parliament, and the parliaments of UK, Germany, Italy, Australia and Ireland. In addition, there were 66 parliamentarians from different countries among the participants.

In her speech, Mrs. Rajavi underscored that the Ukrainian people’s resistance is an epic in defending the honor and survival of their country and a turning point in reviving the culture of unswerving resistance in today’s world. They stood up and challenged the West’s appeasement and passivity. They stood up and motivated the world to support them. Their people and soldiers have stood up firm like steel, she said. Referring to the presence and pivotal role of Iranian women and girls in protests and uprisings of teachers, farmers in Isfahan, as well as the anti-repression activities of women and girls as Resistance Units meant to spread protests, Mrs. Rajavi added: This is the real image of Iranian women. Her cry is not out of despondency and despair. Rather, it is a battle cry to overturn the status quo of captivity, a cry to build a future that we can and must achieve. Her cry has passed through the torture chambers, battlefields, corridors, and halls where the 1988 massacre occurred. Her cry has become more potent during 150 years of struggle of Iranian women against tyranny, retrogression, and misogyny.

Mrs. Rajavi reiterated: “The PMOI women firmly stood up to the barrage of slanders. They persevered for years under military and missile attacks, stood empty-handed in front of tanks, and pushed them back. Thus, they proved their competence and capabilities on the battlefield. The men and women of this movement, who are at the forefront of the Iranian people’s struggle against religious tyranny, have revived the value of resistance. They have chosen not to succumb to oppression and keep paying whatever the price necessary for eliminating it.”

Helle Thorning Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark‎, expressing her support for the NCRI and its President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, said: “Women and girls in Iran are the prime victims of the misogynist machine. Iranian women have not submitted to the regime. They have turned into a force for change in Iran and know their rights will only be achieved with political change in Iran. Women in Iran participate in resistance for freedom. This participation is unique, not only in Iran but in the whole world.” She underscored, “It is remarkable that the NCRI is led by a Muslim woman, Maryam Rajavi. Her ten-point plan is a blueprint for the whole world to see that there is a democratic future for Iran. All democrats across the world should support this plan.”

Urška Bačovnik Janša, Spouse of the Slovenian Prime Minister, and a strong supporter of the Iranian Resistance said: “As a Muslin woman, Maryam (Rajavi), has had to overcome extraordinary political, social, cultural and ideological challenges put in place by the ruling regime in Iran. I commend Maryam’s courage and commitment to empowering Iranian women. Under Maryam’s leadership, women have risen to hold key positions in the Iranian Resistance movement.” She added, “I admire the work of the NCRI Women’s Committee that I have been following closely for quite some time. Iranian women have been on the frontline of protests against Iran’s Islamic regime. They have shown enormous courage, intelligence, and strength. We, women around the world, can be proud of all of them.” She stressed, “I would like to take the opportunity of today’s event to pass a very strong message to my fellow Western women and Western governments. We must stand firm together, against the policies of the Iranian regime that strangles women’s freedoms. Words of western women’s organizations and governments must be put into action. We must be there for Iranian women.”

Rita Süssmuth, former President of the German Bundestag, emphasized, ”I almost cry when I think about the things that Iranian women are going through. This can’t continue. We must speak inside and outside the parliament. We are all part of one, and in unity with men. Iran is a highly civilized country. You can see it in the women who come from Iran, the women in Ashraf. They survived the regime. They were not weak. Suffering can lead to fresh energy.” She added, “Maryam Rajavi is a woman that I admire. She wants to achieve freedom and democracy based on the values of Islam. It is important to make each woman strong, make sure she is confident.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, former German Defense Minister, said: “A lot of women fight for their freedom even though they have to lay down their lives for a better Iran. A great example is Maryam Rajavi, who has laid out a plan for the future of Iran that is liberated from discrimination, where men and women are equal, a country that is not a hub of fundamentalism and terrorism.”

Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to the United States President said: “The women of the world lead the resistance for freedom across the world, whether it’s in Kurdistan, Ukraine, or Iran. I am humbled by the courage of women in Iran who fight for choice, for freedom, whether it’s for speech or the overthrow of the misogynist regime of Iran.”

Ingrid Betancourt, former senator and presidential candidate for Colombia, reiterated, “Today, the MEK is recognized and respected across the world. It is at the forefront of the fight for gender equality. Maryam Rajavi brought light to the lives of millions of silenced and gagged Iranian women. We are talking about a generation of women who are now leading the fight for freedom.” Women are playing a leading role in protests against the regime. It is time for the world community to unite and act. We call on the UN Security Council, the US government, and European governments to change their conciliatory policy toward Iran’s regime. In the case of Iran, the world must end the shameful approach of reaching a nuclear agreement with the regime. It is time to align ourselves with the people. Supporting the Iranian Resistance and the MEK is a duty of the world.”

Mimi Kodheli, former Albanian Minister of Defense told the conference “Iranian women are at the forefront of all protests inside Iran. What does that mean for women who are suffering from gender apartheid across the world? Condemning suppression of women in Iran is not enough. We need to support these women in Iran and worldwide,”.

Lisa Yasko, a member of the Parliament joining online from Ukraine, in an atmosphere of sympathy and applause said, “In Ukraine, we have a war. Our brothers, fathers, and sons are in the war. Women are working really hard. Lots of us have taken up weapons. Others are doing humanitarian aid. Others are involved in politics to raise attention across the world. If we lose faith, we will never win. It is very important to keep faith. To everyone who is listening, don’t give up on your country. We’re fighting for all of you. If we don’t defend our freedom right now, history will never be the same. I’m very proud of my nation and I send my love to all of you. We need peace in Ukraine. We need peace in the world.”

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

March 5, 2022