Onward to A Democratic Republic
Iranian Women Leading the Way
Today, honoring International Women’s Day, a conference titled “Women’s Leadership Guarantees Democracy and Equality” is being held. This event brings together a diverse range of influential women leaders from around the world who will address the critical role that women play in promoting democracy and equality. The conference focuses on the Iranian revolution and the leadership of women in shaping the future of the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, for almost six months now, Iran has been witnessing a national uprising for freedom and democracy, and an uprising that we are proud to say has been led by women.
The women of Iran have paid an exceptionally high price for this resistance. These years of resistance have resulted in thousands of political prisoners being tortured and, of course, executed. During this current uprising that was triggered by the horrific murder in custody of Mahsa Amini, the world was amazed by the courage and bravery of Iranian women and youth as they stood in front of brutal and repressive state forces.
The world was stunned, and the mullahs were certainly caught off guard. But as Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said many years ago, the mullahs will be swept away by women, a force that they have never taken into account.
The uprising in Iran is not a women’s liberation movement. Women are asking for nothing from this regime. Instead, Iranian women know all too well, as all freedom-loving Iranians do, that their true emancipation, democracy, freedom, and liberty will only be achieved by the overthrow of this regime in its entirety. The women, the men, and the youth of Iran have explicitly rejected all forms of dictatorship in Iran. This is evidenced by the slogan chanted in the length and breadth of our homeland. And that is no Shah, no mullahs, freedom, and equality for all.
Azadeh Zabeti: The women, and the men and the youth of Iran have explicitly rejected all forms of dictatorship in Iran. This is evidenced by the slogan chanted in the length and the breadth of our homeland. #IWD2023 #WeCanAndMusthttps://t.co/KfZqn4yJBt
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
The uprising for freedom and democracy has been led by women and the youth. This role is not something that is new. Maybe it’s something that comes from 40 years of struggles against the misogynistic dictatorship that legalized all forms of possible violence against women and created a system of segregation and sexual segregation. Women in Iran have been paying the price for this, with thousands of people tortured and executed.
NCRI Women Committee Chairwoman Sarvnaz Chitsaz
Because of 43 years of oppression, Iranian women have taken a leading role in the struggle against the regime. Iranian women have a strong history of struggle against dictatorial rule.
After the overthrow of Shah’s dictatorial regime, hundreds of thousands of women led by the PMOI began to expose the repressive policies of the mullahs’ regime. Despite facing harassment, women actively participated in all meetings, gatherings, and political and electoral campaigns of the resistance for 2 1/2 years. On June 1981, when Khomeini ordered the killing and suppression of all PMOI and other political groups, many women were arrested alongside men and imprisoned.
For the PMOI, which was engaged in the fight with the mullahs’ misogynist regime, it was clear that without the woman playing a role and being empowered and promoted for which they were fully qualified, it would have been impossible to overthrow the Iranian regime and establish democracy.
It is in this light that the issue of women and the resistance movement approach to the position of women within the organization became fundamental. They believed that fighting the religious dictatorship is the key to achieving real equality for women. We have turned the issue of equality from mere words and slogans into a reality and this has been possible because we have linked the fight for women’s rights with the fight against the ruling theocracy.
They firmly believe that the political demands of our people cannot be realized without overthrowing this regime and that defending rights, defending women’s rights, requires determination and commitment to this goal.
In our resistance against the misogynist policies of the clerical regime, the leading and impressive role of women in the uprising is the result of this 44-year struggle. Naturally, the indispensable role of Mrs. Rajavi, the NCRI president-elect, in achieving equality and the empowerment of all women is outstanding.
.@s_chitsaz: Naturally, the indispensable role of Mrs. @Maryam_Rajavi, the NCRI president-elect, in achieving equality and the empowerment of all women is outstanding. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Changehttps://t.co/rq6BnDPqFP
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison
This has been a momentous year in Iran. It’s been a year of unprecedented protests, sparked initially by the brutal killing, the murder, of Marsha Amini, who was murdered simply for being a woman. It isn’t just women who are protesting and who are the targets of this regime. It’s schoolgirls. Girls who are going to school are being literally poisoned throughout Iran.
There has been, for decades now, an organization and a group that has fought the regime. And that, of course, is the MEK. And it is led by a woman. Maryam Rajavi has been a leader of this organization for decades. And she has been someone who has been fearlessly standing up to the regime in Tehran.
But it isn’t just Mrs. Rajavi who has been a leader. She is the first to say that she isn’t just one person, one woman, but she has behind her dozens, hundreds, thousands of women who are part of this resistance.
I think Mrs. Rajavi has made it very clear that what the women of Iran want is freedom and democracy, the right to control their own lives.
And Mrs. Rajavi has said that it is not simply the right of women to either veil or not to veil, the right of women to make choices about their own personal life—It is the right of people to be able to choose their own leaders.
And she has put together, as you have seen, a ten-point plan that is a model for the kind of government, the kind of future for the people of Iran that she has been working for, and that includes not just the right to pick their own leaders, but also the right of an independent judiciary, the right of a free press, the right of non-discrimination, and the right to be able to worship.
There are those who have suggested that maybe it would be good to go back to the old machine. To the regime of the Shah. Well, I am here to tell you that the people of Iran do not want that. They do not want to be ruled by dictators, no matter what their name is.
Ultimately, it will not be one person or even one organization that decides the future of Iran. The future of Iran will be decided by the people of Iran.
I think it’s important to understand that any society can be judged by the way it treats its women and you cannot have any government—no matter what the political flavor of that government is—that treats half of the population not just as second-class citizens, but as non-human beings.
It is so important for us today to think about how that change is going to take place, and it’s going to take place by the people that we’ve seen in the streets of Tehran and in other cities throughout Iran. Imagine the courage that it takes to be able to project the image of Maryam Rajavi on the side of a building. This is the kind of courage that has always led to revolutions. It has always been the kind of courage that it takes to be able to achieve the kind of future that the people of Iran deserve.
I do want to say before I conclude a word about the Belgian court’s decision that was handed down. It was handed down almost ironically, on the eve of this great gathering here in Brussels. And what that decision said was that there is a treaty between the Government of Belgium and Iran that says that prisoners will be turned over to the government, but that the victims of those who have had crimes committed against them have the right to be heard. Well, I’m here to tell you, as one of the civil litigants in the case that was before the High Court here in Belgium, that we will be heard. Our voices will be heard. And we say no to returning a man who is a part of the government, who attempted to kill thousands of people.
If Iran is rewarded by taking hostages in order to try to use innocent individuals to be able to take back their own paid-directed terrorists, they will only be encouraged to do it again. They will be encouraged to do more.
We have seen almost six months of protests in Iran. But it is going to take more than just protests. To be able to turn out this regime, the people must rise up. They must get rid of the theocratic leaders who have been leading that country for so many years. They must say no to theocracy. They must say yes to democracy. They must say yes to the leadership of an organization like the NCRI, like its leader, Maryam Rajavi, who wants to bring freedom and justice to the people of Iran.
.@chavezlinda: Some have suggested that it would be good to return to Shah's regime. The people of Iran do not want that. They do not want to be ruled by dictators, no matter what their name is. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Change https://t.co/B8qkY6fEAk
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we send our warmest greetings to the pioneering women commanding the uprising in Iran and to the brave women of the Resistance Units. We pay tribute to the 83 women who became martyrs during the uprising, from Mahsa Amini to Zarbibi Ismail Zehi in Zahedan.
We extend our infinite greetings to all the courageous women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for Iran’s democratic revolution, enduring immense suffering and torture. These are the women who have been arrested, tortured, and brutally attacked, some losing their sight and even their lives under torture.
We also pay tribute to the women leaders who have carried the torch of struggle and resistance against the religious dictatorship for more than four decades, generation after generation. They have been executed or killed under torture in the thousands, yet they are the standard-bearers of Iran’s democratic revolution. They represent the true spirit of Iranian women, who have risen up as warriors and sacrificed their lives to liberate a nation held captive.
First and foremost, we express our sympathies to the parents of the students affected by the chain poisoning of schoolgirls in various cities and regions of Iran, and we salute their resistance and protest against this criminal regime. The poisoning of these students has been ongoing for three months, and there is no doubt that it is organized and ordered by the regime. Khamenei’s office is seeking revenge on the girls who played a decisive role in the recent uprising in Iran and is attempting to terrorize them.
Once again, we urge the United Nations, particularly relevant agencies such as UNICEF and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, to investigate and respond firmly.
This year’s International Women’s Day has gained a unique radiance and unparalleled credibility, all thanks to the remarkable bravery of Iranian women who have risen up against the oppressive mullahs’ regime. This is what makes this year different from all the past years because it has revealed a great truth: women play a unique role in shaping society’s destiny. A century ago, women fought for the right to vote, and today, they are fighting to change the world, from one of barbarism into a world of freedom, justice, and equality.
A revolution of unprecedented magnitude is underway in Iran, setting a united front of people against the oppressive and misogynistic regime of the mullahs. It is a nationwide uprising that rejects the present and past regimes and is poised to establish a democratic republic, pursuing the same path that the Iranian Resistance and its vanguard women have been paving for over four decades.
Iran’s brave and resilient women, with their unwavering bravery and tireless activism, have become Khamenei’s perpetual nightmare.
In the current uprising, female students have taken the lead in most protests in 204 universities. Furthermore, out of the 1,776 schools where students joined the uprising, 1,186 were girls’ schools. The uprising and the unparalleled heroism of Iranian women have captivated the attention of the world.
Until yesterday, the role of women executed in Evin and Gohardasht prisons, and in more than 100 of Khomeini’s torture chambers, and the role of women executed in 1981, or the girls who refused to even say their names to their executioners and were shot on June 20 of the same year, has been deliberately concealed.
The role of women who organized themselves for the first time in Iranian history in the units of the Iranian National Liberation Army has been intentionally hidden. The politics of appeasement have left no room to pay attention to the photo of Commander Sara hanging from a tree in the mountains with an IRGC dagger in her heart.
These are the heart-wrenching photos of three women from the People’s Mojahedin who self-immolated: Sedigheh Mojaveri and Neda Hassani, who lost their lives, and Marzieh Babakhani, who survived and underwent dozens of operations thereafter and is present in your gathering today.
After the June 17, 2003, attack on the Iranian Resistance, women had no other option but to self-immolate to resist the conspiracy of the mullahs in France, especially the so-called reformist mullahs.
If these atrocities against Iranian women had been kept hidden in the darkness of silence and complacency for years, fortunately, the world has now opened its eyes. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs appropriately stated in a conference with colleagues on October 26 that “We see our humanity in them [Iranian women],” and Le Point described it as “an uprising inspired by women of incredible courage” in its editorial on November 22.
Yes, these flames of freedom and equality that you see, this courage that inspires the world, will be followed by storms. The day will come when the women of Iran will overthrow the religious tyranny of the mullahs.
Iran’s risen women, following the path of pioneering women, have presented a new meaning for life. Nasrin Qaderi, a daughter of the people of Marivan in Kurdistan, was pursuing her Ph.D. in philosophy before being murdered. She wrote, “Don’t make us scared of death, we have lived it.” Several of them also died under torture, including Atefeh Na’ami in Karaj, or Ayda Rostami, the compassionate physician who treated injured protesters in Tehran.
The sacrifices made by these women convey a powerful message – that freedom requires a revolution. A revolution always comes with a price, and those who promise a costless change are only seeking to maintain the status quo.
These women have also exposed and discredited the treacherous policies of pro-regime “reformers.”
In this uprising, Iranian women have not only rejected the mandatory veil but also the compulsory and dictatorial rule of any kind, be it by the Shah or the mullahs. Reza Shah forced the removal of women’s head coverings, while Khomeini imposed it once again. Thus, the main issue is coercion and dictatorship, where free choice has no place.
But today, a democratic revolution is unfolding in Iran. The defiant girls from Tehran to Zahedan are shouting, “With or without the hijab, onward to the revolution!” They want a democratic republic without a turban or crown, defined by freedom, popular sovereignty, and free elections. They were chanting, retrogression and dictatorship must be eradicated.
The mullahs sought to prevent women from playing a crucial role in overthrowing the religious dictatorship in Iran. For 30 years, we have been saying that the rise of women will ignite the uprising. So, woe to the mullahs, for they will be struck with a fatal blow from where they had never imagined: from women and their unyielding determination to overthrow the mullahs’ misogynistic regime.
Dear friends, we all know that women who take on significant responsibilities in the path of struggle often have to pay a price several times higher than men due to historical reasons, in order to fulfill their rightful roles. How could these women command and bear the weight of leading this fierce struggle to its point of progress and success?
In a nutshell, the answer lies in making a choice – choosing to walk the difficult path of struggle, choosing to sacrifice and pay the price without expecting any rewards, and choosing to fight at all costs. It means choosing to uphold high values, defending the principles and rules of a just battle with an inhuman enemy, and persevering despite demonization, accusations, lies, slanders, and resisting the enemy’s attacks.
For years, even during the current uprising, it was ironic that the regime’s media and Khamenei’s Friday prayer leaders questioned why PMOI women wore the hijab. After all, for 44 years, Khomeini, Khamenei, and the deceitful fundamentalist mullahs have tried to convince Iranian society that the enemy of their rights and freedoms is not the mullahs’ regime, but rather the enemy of is United States, Iraq, or Jerusalem. This was despite the fact that the regime waged an eight-year war with Iraq, using the slogan of conquering Jerusalem via Karbala in Iraq.
But we say, the crux of the matter is that the conflict revolves around the Iranian people’s freedom and popular sovereignty. The regime attempts to give its crusade against the Iranian people a religious context and label the PMOI as hypocrites with a distorted Islam. If we let them define the narrative, they will reduce the conflict to a matter of religion and creed, pitting Islam against non-Islam. We reiterate that the central issue is the Iranian people’s popular sovereignty and free elections.
And I repeatedly emphasize that this is the primary conflict that has drawn a line between the PMOI and this regime for 44 years, even during the darkest and most prolonged periods in Iran’s history, and during the country’s most challenging, complicated, painful, and blood-soaked organized resistance. The very Resistance movement that Massoud Rajavi initiated by differentiating between freedom and regression from day one.
On #InternationalWomensDay, we send our warmest greetings to the courageous women &girls who are leading the Iran uprising.
We pay tribute to the 83 women who have been killed during #IRanRevolution, from #MahsaAmini to Zarbibi Ismail Zehi in Zahedan.https://t.co/n4QRRMvKVF
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 4, 2023
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, former German Minister of Defense (2019-2021)
The images coming from Iran humble me. I ask myself, would I have the power to take to the streets, to let my children go out and fight against the regime? This strength, especially in the women in Iran, is a sign of humanism and decisiveness that goes far beyond the borders of Iran. You are an inspiration for the world.
We can do our utmost to show Iran’s people support and tell them they are not alone. We are with you.
Every human being has the right to decide their life. It’s inalienable. The regime is murderous and supports terrorism and fundamentalism. It can’t live in peace with its neighbors. It abuses in the name of God. It is weak. It is so afraid that it put its youth in prison and poisons them. This regime must go down, and you are fighting for this.
This is about Iran that can be so much more than it has been for decades. This is not about replacing one dictatorship with another. Iran can be an example of peace, freedom, and democracy. This is in our interest. And this is why we have gathered here today.
The international community must stand up. This is our fight. We must stand by their side. Dictators don’t understand appeasement. They only understand one answer: No, no, no!
That’s why we are here. Ahead of International Women’s Day, we are here to say no to a regime that destroys its own future, a regime that does not believe in peace, and a regime that fears people deciding their own politics. We want to say yes to a free Iran, a democratic Iran, and an international policy that supports the people of Iran not just in words but also in action.
.@akk: The international community must stand up. This is our fight. We must stand by the Iranian people's side. Dictators don’t understand appeasement. They only understand one answer: No, no, no! #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Change https://t.co/oeXmXILtxO
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Dominique Attias, President of European Law Society Federation, vice-boutonniere of Paris, Recipient of France’s Légion d’Honneur- 2011
The women of Iran are the forgotten power of the world. Today, Iranian women are leading the struggle. This is the only revealing part of the long struggle by all women in Iran, of all ages, all regions, generation after generation.
The people of Iran are shouting no to Shah, no to mullahs. People want freedom and democracy. They don’t want forced religious laws. They reject the dictatorship of Khamenei and all factions of the regime. They are saying down to the dictator, Shah, and mullahs.
After the revolution, the regime tried to impose a forced veil. Women should be able to choose their own garments. Let’s get rid of all laws that go against women. These laws are made by men who think women are objects. But women want freedom. And today, they are paying a high price for it. Countless people were arrested and tortured. But they were not broken. We admire them and support them. The women of the world will stand by your side. We call on the European Commission to stop talking to the devil. The women of Iran have faced the devil many times in prison cells.
The mullahs must commit to stopping their hostage-taking policy. This is a terrorist regime. History must remember. The fight will go on. It will never stop. I’ve known the Iranian Resistance as a lawyer in Paris. The women of the NCRI told me about what happened in the summer of 1988, with many women killed, including young girls who had done nothing. The youth paid the price because they didn’t want the mullahs’ laws.
The struggle continues thanks to the women in Iran. I’ve met Maryam Rajavi and these women. They work with incredible efficiency. Maryam Rajavi has persisted in her stance, and she has dedicated her life to this struggle. She has been targeted with assassination attempts, but she has continued to call for freedom.
We must give leadership positions to women we can trust. Maryam Rajavi leads the resistance movement. In the world of patriarchy, women are understanding that they can make change happen. The women of Iran are marching toward freedom, and no one can stop it, neither the Shah nor the mullahs.
.@AttiasDominique: @Maryam_Rajavi has persisted in her stance, and she has dedicated her life to this struggle. She has been targeted with assassination attempts, but she has continued to call for freedom. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Change https://t.co/GV19QACakC
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Latifa Aït Baala, Member of the Parliament of Brussels
As a woman, I’ve taken part in many campaigns for freedom and democracy. But something has changed. The fight has to go on. We must increase our struggle. There is a new trend of democracy in Iran. Iranian people have led a long struggle and the objective of liberating Iran from theocracy seems to be finally close. By fighting for women’s rights and human rights, we can bring about freedom.
The regime killed 750 people without reason and arrested 30,000 people without a warrant. Even going through these difficult times, even when facing death, the women of Iran keep on fighting not only for themselves but for all the people of Iran.
This regime uses all its means to stifle its voice. They have also started poisoning young girls because they don’t want women to find their place in Iranian society. The regime fears the women, but the women are not scared of the regime.
This struggle is not just about the hijab. It’s about freedom and human rights, the rights of minorities, and the end of violence. The protests across the globe and the Iranian people want a democratic state. They want a democratic republic. They don’t want the theocracy.
I want to congratulate Maryam Rajavi for her leadership of the resistance movement. I express once again my support for the men and women who want freedom. We will support you, the Iranian people, and in particular, the women who are leading the way.
.@LatifaAitBaala: #IranRevoIution is not just about the hijab. It’s about freedom and human rights, the rights of minorities, and the end of violence. The protests across the globe and the Iranian people want a democratic state.#IWD2023 #WomenForce4Changehttps://t.co/Mlb9sHfnT4
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Prof. Yakın Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (2003-2006)
I have witnessed first-hand how gendered subordination and misogynist laws and attitudes have been woven into the fiber of the Islamic Republic, which is one of its most distinguishing features.
Since 1979, the hijab had come to symbolize the relationship between woman’s resistance on the one hand, and the mullahs, gender politics on the other.
Despite the countless attempts of the Islamic State to wind back the clock, gender relations have continued to change over the years. Iran today is not what it was back in 1979. Today, Iran is highly urbanized.
Iranian women have a long history of resilience and struggle for emancipation from prohibitions imposed by law and misogynist practices. Therefore, today’s protests are in a way, the outcome of nearly two centuries of struggle for civil rights. Women have demonstrated a strong will of resistance in their everyday life and have been part of every major demonstration since the beginning of the Islamic Republic.
The 2022 protests seem to be different from the previous ones. There is a common understanding among analysts that there has been a paradigm shift towards claiming life from a regime that has colonized lives and hijacked the country’s future for over 40 years. Women are major players in the recent protest, but they have been joined by the urban middle class, the middle class, poor slum dwellers, and people of different geographies, and ethnic and religious identities.
Iranian women are recognized now, no doubt by everyone, as a transformative force not only within Iran but by everyone across the globe.
The recent protests have made it very clear that the woman question is a strategic site and women are strategic actors in the struggle for change in Iran. Change cannot come without the Iranian woman.
The regime will no doubt not stay idle in such realization, and it will do its best to suppress this power, as was evidenced during the protest where hundreds of lives were lost, including more than 60 women in the past three months.
Hundreds of schoolgirls have been hospitalized due to poisoning in at least 52 schools in ten provinces across the country. Although denied by the authorities, many believe that this is a deliberate attempt to force the closure of girls’ schools. Families who are rightfully worried about the life of their children may be inclined to withdraw their girls from school. This will be an end to women’s dream for education because if elementary school and secondary school level education are denied to girls, there will be no further educational opportunities.
The struggle of women in Iran is relevant and is the cause of woman’s struggle globally. Gender equality is a global concern.
Prof. Yakın Ertürk: The #IranProtests2023 have made it very clear that the woman question is a strategic site and women are strategic actors in the struggle for change in Iran. Change cannot come without the Iranian woman. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Changehttps://t.co/R2CEiFOeDe
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Kathleen Depoorter, Member of the Belgian Parliament
There are more than 50 organizations fighting for women’s rights. We couldn’t do this here in Belgium. You could do it. It is great that you took the courage to organize all this.
Today, we should celebrate women’s rights. But instead of that, we’re fighting for fundamental female rights in Iran. And we should stand up and continue, and we should never give up. The reason I stand here with you and with all these brave women in Iran who took up the uprising is that I truly believe in the justice of your cause, of our cause, of the women’s cause.
As a politician, it is my mission to support every organization and every human being who fosters women’s rights all over the world.
Iranian women and girls have been playing a leading role in this movement against the oppressive and sexist regime. And that regime has persisted for 44 years. That’s too long. When a young woman or young girl loses her life because of an exposed lock of hair, we are outraged. We can’t support this. We will not support this. We will never tolerate this. Women who are barred from political leadership in the country. Discrimination against women is totally instituted and institutionalized.
Equal rights for men and women. This is what the Iranian citizen wants. Everyone has the right to choose who is their political leader, who is the one, who will fight for their rights, and who will stand up for their rights. And here is Maryam Rajavi, of course.
When I heard recently that there is a wave of poisoning schoolgirls by toxic gas, I really was in shock. We should, under all circumstances, prevent parents from leaving their daughter’s homes out of fear. Education is extremely important.
The strength of the Iranian protesters is admirable to me. I truly admire your strength because you literally risk your lives to obtain the rights that you deserve, fundamental rights.
I would like to express my deep respect to all the families of those who lost their lives for a better future for others. On this International Woman’s Day, I really want to honor you and all the brave Iranian women who played a significant role in the uprising.
But I also want to honor the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Because, yes, with half of its members being women and responsible for many of its committees, you do struggle for freedom and equality.
And then I go back to Mrs. Rajavi. What a role model she is. What a woman. She really proves what is female leadership. She really takes this woman out to where they have to go to be a political leader to really take our future into our hands.
It is a four-decade struggle that you have been leading all these years. And if you are fighting for freedom, equality, and democracy, it was empowered and guided by this distinguished leadership of Mrs. Rajavi. And I really applaud her.
Iranian citizens, women, girls, men, and boys have continued to stand up and fight for their rights. And they’re inspiring us all over the world with their courage and resilience. And we do hear not enough from international politicians. We should support these people more.
Today, the eyes of the world are upon you all, here, everywhere, and in Iran. And you deserve all the support of the international community.
.@KDepoorterMP: Mrs. @Maryam_Rajavi is a role model. She really proves what female leadership is. She really takes this woman out to where they have to go to be a political leader to really take our future into our hands. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Changehttps://t.co/89LN644cEq
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Canadian MP and former Minister Judy A. Sgro
I would have never imagined a year ago or when I was in Ashraf 3 last summer that all of what has happened would bring us to where we are today, celebrating International Women’s Day here, focusing on the women of all of the world because there’s a lot of oppressed women in various capacities and so on. And we are very focused today on giving courage to all Iranian women that continue to be part of this, Madam Rajavi and the thousands of women in Ashraf 3 that continue to work for freedom and for democracy.
The IRGC is nothing short of a terrorist organization. But we have parts of the world that don’t recognize that.
With Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan, and when she says it and reads it out again, it always reminds me that’s a model for the world, not just for Iran. It’s a model for the world to follow.
In Canada, there are rallies in the streets and rallies in the parks, and the flags are all there and the traffic is blocked on lots of Sunday afternoons. It’s happening. The world is aware of the terrible things that are happening in Iran and are backing Madam Rajavi, the MEK, the NCRI, and all of the other movements that are trying to finally get rid of an oppressive group of mullahs that do not deserve to be there.
So, we’re very close to that. I hope and dream and pray that on the next International Women’s Day we’ll be celebrating with Madam Rajavi in Iran with freedom.
.@JudySgroMP: The IRGC is nothing short of a terrorist organization. But we have parts of the world that don't recognize that. #IWD2023 #WomenForce4Change #BlacklistIRGC https://t.co/DvB3aCnLxO
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Zinat Mirhashemi, Member of the NCRI and the Central Committee of the Cherik-Hay-E Fedaii Organization (OIPFG)
Despite the demonization campaign of the regime and its allies, you’re continuing your struggle. Instead of talking about ideals, they’re talking about your hijab. But this is not the problem. I congratulate all those who are fighting for gender equality, and I salute women political prisoners. We are proud of you. The Iranian people are proud of you. The Resistance Units are at the forefront of this struggle. The heart of the revolution is beating and the flame of the revolution is burning. This uprising started with the murder of Mahsa Amini, and it continues with the voice of the Iranian women. The revolution can be heard across the world.
This uprising is a revolution with specific requests. Women’s rights have always been a challenge for this regime. Regardless of which faction of the regime is in power, discrimination against women has remained in place. The liberation of society depends on the liberation of women. We must emphasize that freeing Iranian women is only possible through regime change.
The regime has institutionalized discrimination against women in its constitution. At the same time, the remnants of the Pahlavi dynasty are trying to change history and pretend Shah’s regime did not force women to remove their hijab. The women did not have any rights under the previous regime.
We have seen in the movement of Iranian women and teachers who are in the streets every day that their demands are not something that Shah’s regime can respond to. They can’t steal the hundred-year struggle of the Iranian people. The remnants of the Pahlavi dynasty can’t divert the course of this revolution. They are taking advantage of women to change their turban with a crown. You can see it in their stance against women who are with the PMOI or communist movements.
The NCRI is the democratic alternative to this regime. The ten-point plan of Maryam Rajavi is guaranteed by the participation of women in the leadership of this movement. The Fedayee
Organization believes in the participation of women in the struggle against the regime. Struggling against gender discrimination is requisite to removing class discrimination.
The history of Iran is a book full of suffering, but also full of honor and resistance. The brave Iranian women and girls have overcome many constraints under both the Shah and mullahs. They held the flag of resistance, freedom, and struggle for freedom. From the beginning, Khomeini made women the target of his attacks.
With the beginnings of the Iranian people’s just resistance, a generation of MEK women went through fire and blood. Women had to overcome all traditional and social disabilities and constraints. They accepted the hardships, torture, and martyrdom to get the gem of freedom. This was necessary for the presence of women in the resistance leadership.
Today, the world is witnessing the courage and bravery of women in the Resistance Units all over Iran. Yes, the generation that said no to the Shah and Khomeini. We will fight, pay the price, and bring victory to the people of Iran.
When I think about the past, present, and future, I am honored to be a member of the MEK. This is a generation that is determined to break the dark cycle of dictatorships of the Shah and the mullahs. The struggle of this generation would not have been possible without the sacrifices of the women of the MEK and the leadership of Maryam Rajavi.
We MEK women are carrying on and relying on our capacities and our role model, Mrs. Rajavi, who is the most rebellious woman in the history of Iran.
We must choose to rebel and end all the lies that say we cannot and must not. We must also rely on role models and embrace any difficulties and calamities. We must pay the price.
Mrs. Rajavi has turned the history of the suffering of Iranian women into a history of struggle and steadfastness.
Ms. Sima Bagherzadeh, MEK member: When I think about the past, present, and future, I am honored to be a member of the MEK. This generation is determined to break the dark cycle of dictatorships of the Shah and the mullahs. #WomenForce4Change #IWD2023 https://t.co/JkzcFB0Eq3
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Candice Bergen Harris, MP, Leader of Canada’s Conservative Party (2022)
You are not alone in this fight. I and so many others stand with you, and we will do everything we can do. Politically, legislatively, as well as practically to help you in the fight that you are undertaking. And when I talk about legislatively and politically, I’m talking about things like in Canada naming the IRGC as a terrorist organization. That is something that we can do, and we need to do.
The women of Iran, the people of Iran are also born for such a time as this. Your courage, your sacrifice, and your commitment. And when I think of Mrs. Rajavi, I think of so many of you, there are several pictures that come to my mind. One is of an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Your desire is that the women of Iran will have the freedom to participate freely and safely in all facets of life, economics, politics, education, leadership, and in their own personal choices as women, including what they wear and their religious decisions. This is not too much to ask for. These are basic freedoms that every human deserves.
As we celebrate International Day of the Woman, I can think of no other example of women standing up for women’s rights than Iranian women, not only in Iran but Iranian women around the world.
You will go down in history as not only the ones who delivered freedom for women, but democracy, autonomy, and prosperity for an entire nation, and we stand with you.
My second part of the message is to the regime that is terrorizing the people of Iran and also to the leaders of countries who are supporting this regime either overtly or covertly. You are evil, all of you, and your days are numbered. You are cowards. You are bullies and you will be defeated.
And I want to say to countries and leaders of countries and organizations around the world that are trying to appease this regime, you also stand with blood on your hands. You cannot stand back and appease this regime. You cannot go along to get along.
You are also responsible, and you need to be held accountable for your lack of action.
This regime needs to know that its days are numbered. And the reason that I know this is because the people of Iran and Iranian women will not give up. They will not step back. They will not shut up. They will not go away. They will not ever give up. They will not retreat, and they will not be silent.
Mrs. Rajavi, I want to thank you for your courage and vision. I want to thank you for your words. And thank you for the spirit that you have imparted to the women that serve around you. They’re not competing with each other. They’re not trying to get ahead.
The women who are serving this incredible cause and purpose, Mrs. Rajavi, have your spirit. And that is the spirit of sacrifice, of lifting each other up. And I know that is why so much can be accomplished.
.@CandiceBergenMP: The women who are serving this incredible cause and purpose, Mrs. @Maryam_Rajavi, have your spirit. And that is the spirit of sacrifice, of lifting each other up. And I know that is why so much can be accomplished. #IWD2023 https://t.co/bHVcg5Tihz
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
NCRI Member Fleur Sadoudi
I hail the PMOI members who have been struggling for the freedom of Iran for many years and have stood against the mullahs, and their supporters, and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the flagbearer of the resistance.
I’m happy that these days, many of the Iranian Diaspora is supporting the people. But we must not forget where this uprising and resistance came from. It started more than 40 years ago with the price that the PMOI paid with their human values, their kindness, and their love for their people.
I congratulate all Iranian women on International Women’s Day.
These days, the regime’s agents are poisoning young girls in schools. It continues every day. The leaders of this regime are trying to deny it and cover their role in this criminal act. We call on all governments across the globe to condemn this crime.
Khamenei is trying to send people back to their homes and to stop the uprising. He’s using Shah’s son to deceive the people. He is repeating the lies of the regime about the resistance. The Resistance Units and people across the country are rejecting both dictatorships and are shouting “Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the mullahs!”
Margarita Duran Vadell, former Spanish Senator, Journalist
Chers amis, dear friends. Queridas amigas, hermanas. It’s been eleven years since I first attended the NCRI International Women’s Day. It might seem that many things have changed, but the truth is that they have not. Eleven years ago, the opposition was led by women. Eleven years later, it is still led by women. It does not matter if we are talking about the leadership of the main opposition group to the mullahs’ regime, our dear Maryam Rajavi, or if we are talking about the different uprisings that have taken place in the towns and cities in Iran in recent years and in recent days. It doesn’t matter.
Behind every act of rebellion, every act of opposition, there have been women. And then always jail, torture, execution, because yes, that is the price paid in Iran for freedom and dignity. It is enough for us to look into the eyes of many of the women who are here today, the eyes of those who follow us online from other places, especially from Ashraf 3 and especially above all in Iran. You know this is the price of freedom and that many of them have had to pay it.
My respect, my affection is with them, with you, my sisters. The active presence and the leading role of women in the present uprising is not a spontaneous phenomenon. They are a major force for change for good reason. Misogyny is deeply ingrained in the ruling religious tyranny. Since the first day, the mullahs made it clear that the suppression of women is a strategic priority. Thus Iranian women’s struggle for equality has been ongoing for decades and remains key to obtaining freedom and democracy for the broader population.
In the Iranian constitution, in civil and criminal laws, they have torn women into second-class citizens because they are afraid of them, even of young girls in school.
As a result, has been the opposite of what they want. They have made them stronger. They have made them more aware of everything that has been taken from them. And for this reason, despite their fears, despite the consequences, they are the first to confront the criminal regime. Since the 1980s, the regime has killed thousands of brave women, and political prisoners struggling for freedom and equality.
.@gariduran: The leadership of MEK women is the antithesis of the mullahs’ misogyny. This is why they are demonizing the movement in all ways. The mullahs are afraid of the strength and courage of Iranian women. #WomenForce4Change #IWD2023 https://t.co/xeqvBwOXkH
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
The mullahs torture tens of thousands more in jails and in 1988 alone, female activists from MEK and other democratic organizations were among the 30,000 massacred by the regime in Iranian prisons because they refused to abandon their calls for freedom and equality. And today? Today, women are numerous in the resistance units affiliated with the MEK. Resistance units have played a central role in the continuance of the protest after Masha Amini was killed. Most resistant unit members are embedded in their communities and are students, employees, workers, or whatever. Their presence in their respective communities is the way to afford them the ability to group and reconcile it as required anyway.
For choosing to put women’s equality into practice, the main opposition to the MEK has been led by women for more than three decades. And not only the main leader, Maryam Rajavi but women in this organization at all levels of leadership have also trolled their abilities and competencies. The presence of these women in such a position has had its unique impact on Iranian society.
The MEK under the leadership of women is the antithesis of fundamentalism, both in action and theory. They are the role model for women in Iran, and the Mullahs know it. That is why they have denigrated the movement in every possible way. That is why they have spread all kinds of lies about their members and especially about their leaders. That is why they have tried to kill her more than once. Because the mullahs are afraid of the strength, of the courage of Iranian women. Because they know that Iranian women are not going to give up. They know that Iranian women want democracy, freedom, and equality. And if some governments stop supporting the mullahs’ regime, if they in European Union stop ignoring their atrocities and act forcefully, Iranian women will succeed. Thank you.
Maria Greca, former Romanian MP
I would like to raise a concern about the serial crime of poisoning schoolgirls in Iran. It is important that we raise our voices in support of the women in Iran.
Just as we have seen with the forced hijab during the recent uprising, innocent girls have been subject to IRGC’s brutal rage. This is a grim reminder of Iran’s past denial of acid attacks on women.
I applaud the leadership of Madam Rajavi. Women are the force for change in Iran. The MEK Resistance Units are leading the way to freedom. They are driven by women who have sacrificed under two dictatorships. I had the privilege of meeting with several generations of courageous women in Ashraf 3. They show remarkable resilience and bravery against the oppressive regime. Their actions prove gender equality can be achieved in practice. I am proud to stand with these courageous women in their quest for a free and democratic Iran.
As a female politician, I support Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan.
Maria Greca, ex-Romanian MP: I applaud the leadership of Mrs. Rajavi. The MEK Resistance Units are leading the way to freedom. They are driven by women who have sacrificed under two dictatorships.#WomenForce4Change #IWD2023 https://t.co/0DVwsh8Ay8
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
Aysan Jodairi, MEK supporter
I have joined this movement and learned that the movement for the liberation of women can’t be separated from the movement for regime change. The leadership of Mrs. Rajavi is an inspiration to all of us. You have taught us that we can and must. You have paved the way and paid the price every step of the way. One of your greatest achievements has been numerous brave women who are fighting alongside their brothers and are leading this movement.
The struggles of the Iranian men and women are marching toward victory. Dictators don’t like this. This is why the remnants of Shah’s regime, and the ruling regime, are trying to prevent us from moving forward. But we have not paid this price and made these sacrifices to change the turban with the crown. Those who are in the streets will have the last word, the Resistance Units who are shouting “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the mullahs!”
Fatemeh Sarhadi, Laboratory Science Specialist, from the Association for Human Rights and Democracy
I am from Sistan and Baluchestan and I have experienced being a Baluch woman under the Shah and the mullahs’ regimes. During Shah’s dictatorship poverty was widespread in Baluchestan and it continued under this regime. Being a Baluch is enough to be discriminated against under this regime. I was working with other political groups, but after I became acquainted with the PMOI, I chose to support them. And my determination became stronger every day. The children of my land are paying the price with their lives.
I am like Khodanour, killed by this regime. I am the young Baluch girl Mona who was killed by IRGC forces in Baluchestan. I am the child who lost her father a week before she was born. We have paid the greatest price for the freedom of the Iranian people. I support this movement and I am proud to support this movement which has paid the price of freedom for many years.
The PMOI has always paid particular attention to the rights of minorities. These days, we’re seeing the regime and its agents trying to undermine this movement. But the PMOI has shown over the years that it does not want to seize power. They can be the true voice of the people of Iran, especially the people of Baluchestan.
The Resistance Units are the pioneers of freedom in Iran. Women in different countries face many challenges, but Iran is under the rule of the mullahs. It is hell for Iranian women. In the past four months, IRGC soldiers have intoxicated hundreds of schoolgirls. One of them has lost her life and many are still facing sickness. The regime wants to push schoolgirls back into their homes. Khamenei has committed the most violent suppression against women in Iran. But Iranian women will never give up their freedom. They are moving along despite all the difficulties. In the past few years, I have witnessed how women have taken part in many struggles and have gained the power to lead this movement. This has all happened under the leadership of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi.
Given the verdict of the constitutional court of Belgium for the swapping of a terrorist for a hostage, you might free a hostage, but you will pave the way for more hostage-taking.
Mrs. Rajavi has put forward a very simple solution three months ago. The Iranian regime must make a written commitment to the international community that they will free the hostages today and will never take any hostages going forward.
All the suffering of the Iranian people and the people of the region stems from this regime. The overthrow of this regime will be fulfilled by the Iranian people.
Ms. @hoda17879745: The Resistance Units are the pioneers of freedom in Iran. All the suffering of the Iranian people and the people of the region stems from this regime. The overthrow of this regime will be fulfilled by the Iranian people. #IWD2023 https://t.co/50WwKtqR4u
— NCRI-FAC (@iran_policy) March 4, 2023
At the IWD Conference in Brussels, other international leaders and legislators sent video messages to express their solidarity with the Iranian women, their Resistance, as well as the women’s rights movement around the world.
Iveta Radicova, former Prime Minister of Slovakia
We are living in a deep complex of uncertainty, directly or indirectly attacked by wartime. I know that for decades, Iranian women lived and faced oppression, discrimination, and marginalization under the clerical regime.
From mandatory hijab laws to unequal access to education, health care, and employment opportunities, Iranian women have been denied the basic human rights that they deserve.
Despite all these obstacles, Iranian women have shown remarkable strength and determination in their fight for freedom and equality. They have played a crucial role in the resistance against the regime both inside and outside of Iran.
Women’s struggle in Iran is unique in that it is not solely focused on gender-specific issues but rather on the primary problems facing all Iranians which are the right to popular sovereignty and the establishment of freedom and democracy in their own country.
The number of female martyrs in the Iranian people’s struggles over the past 4 decades underscores this point. The totally inhuman regime executed over 120,000 of its opponents during this period, and thousands of these victims were women. For example, in the summer of 1988 alone, the clerical regime massacred over 30,000 political prisoners, including thousands of female prisoners.
Despite facing oppression and persecution, a woman has remained steadfast in her commitment to the cause of freedom and democracy. The presence of a strong and organized opposition, led by a woman is a significant, ideological, political, and social challenge to a regime that considers women as second-class citizens or non-citizens. Freedom and democracy in Iran will ultimately pave the way for women’s rights and equality.
As the struggle for these fundamental rights continues, Iranian women will undoubtedly play a crucial role in this ongoing fight.
I would like to say a concrete sentence and my wishes to one very concrete woman at the forefront of the struggle, and it is Madam Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Madame Rajavi has been a tireless advocate for women, not only for women, but the people in Iran, and has in part rose a generation of women to take leadership in the resistance. Moreover, the movement under her leadership has acted as a role model for thousands of women, especially the younger generation, in their quest for parity and the fundament of freedom.
I wish we meet in better times and have a chance not to survive under warfare but to live on welfare.
Mary Scott Greenwood, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian-American Business Council
Thank you for having me and I wish I could be with you in person. Next year for sure we will be together in person. Greetings from Washington DC in the United States of America.
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate and recognize the achievements of women all over the world. As you gather today, I extend my support and solidarity to all of you, and in particular to the brave Iranian women who are leading the fight against decades of oppression, and coercion.
As we mark this important occasion, we must also acknowledge the long-standing struggle of women in Iran under two different dictatorships. I am impressed by your unwavering commitment to leadership and your call for an end to all forms of dictatorship.
And it’s not just Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, and all around the world, we stand with women who are fighting for freedom and for peace, and for a better future for all of our children.
I am confident that with our collective efforts, we can create a world where women and men are empowered and respected. We can unite and support each other.
During my own career, I have seen much evidence that women’s leadership in politics, society, and the economy is vital to achieving gender equality in any country.
Despite the horrific atrocities committed against the people of Iran, particularly women, the last five months have revealed the incredible potential of motivated Iranian women to achieve freedom and equality.
The recent nationwide uprising, which has spread to 282 cities, 204 universities, 1,700 high schools, and over 100 elementary schools in all provinces, has been led largely by women, including students and girls who have bravely organized and protested despite the crackdowns of the IRGC. With women at the forefront, Iran is poised to once again overthrow the dictatorship. The demands of Iranian women are clear, with the issue of veiling representing only a small part of the equation.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I stand in solidarity with you and firmly say no to compulsory government, no compulsory religion, and no to the compulsory veil.
The crucial role of women’s active participation in politics, society, and the economy has emerged as a pressing need for progress, democracy, and peace in all nations. I would like to turn your attention to the importance of the article included in Ms. Maryam Rajavi’s 10-point plan, which aims to establish justice and provide equal opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship for citizens of Iran in a free-market economy. In a fair society, women should be entitled to equal rights same men in terms of inheritance, property management, and entering contracts.
They should also have the same access as men to the labor market, equal pay for equal work, and comparable opportunities in areas such as housing, nutrition, medical services, education, athletics, and the arts.
My friend in the Canadian Parliament Candice Bergan is there with you today. She can attest to the importance of these things that we sometimes in the United States don’t appreciate how important they are and in Canada and we stand with women all around the world for equal opportunity in all these areas.
The leadership of women is paramount in the fight for freedom. For the past four decades, religious dictatorship has brought destruction, war, and terrorism from Iran to the Middle East. It is imperative for the international community to unite in solidarity with the Iranian people who are advocating for democracy and freedom. Only then can they rebuild their country and live in prosperity.
On this International Women’s Day, we stand with you in Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and around the world in your struggle for a better future. Thank you, my sisters.
Nadine Maenza, President of the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Secretariat, former Chair of the US Commission International Religious Freedom.
I am sorry I could not be with you in person today, as I am traveling in the Middle East. On this International Women’s Day, I wanted to share that I am standing with you in support of all the women in Iran who are leading a revolution against four decades of misogyny and oppression. Religious and ethnic minority women in Iran face even greater oppression under the current dictatorship that has institutionalized gender apartheid, targeting political, and social dissenters, including religious minorities such as Christians, Baha’i, Gonabadi Sufi Dervishes, and even Sunni Muslims.
Iran’s persecution of religious and ethnic minorities is not limited to isolated acts of violence but is part of a broader policy to target any dissenting political, social, or religious practice. Legal protection for religious minorities is limited, and converting from Islam to any other religion could be punishable by death.
I have spent two decades advocating for international religious freedom and championing for women’s equality in the social and economic sphere. We can achieve gender equality sooner by advocating for women’s rights, religious freedom, and social and economic equality. The current situation in Iran is shocking, with stories of torture and rape of detained protesters. Despite the severe oppression they face, we witness ongoing protests by the Kurdish and Baloch communities in Iran.
I stand with my Iranian sisters who are the pioneers of a new revolution in Iran. Discrimination against women, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, social class, or other factors, must be eliminated.
Iran is on the verge of overthrowing this dictatorship, and women are at the forefront of this change. We stand in solidarity with you to achieve freedom in a democratic secular republic.
I hope one day I can visit you all in prosperous Iran with all religious and ethnic minorities living in harmony and peaceful coexistence with neighbors.
Senator Claire Chandler from Australia
Full and free participation in society is a fundamental right that all women and girls should enjoy. The right to education. To freedom of religion. The right to be free from violence, whether it’s in your own home, walking the streets of your town, at school, at university, or in the workplace.
All countries should do more to uphold these rights. But it is tragic and unacceptable that some governments and some regimes in the 21st century deliberately and systematically deny these rights to women and girls.
We know, and the world knows that the Islamic Republic of Iran regime is one of the worst offenders. We have seen women and girls beaten, shot, imprisoned, and killed by the IRI for doing nothing more than standing up for their own rights.
Around the world, including in Australia, we have been inspired by the courage and determination of Iranian women and girls who have stood up to their oppressors.
Australia supports Iranian women and girls. We stand with them. And we look forward to the day when they succeed in their brave and courageous stand for their human rights.
Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik
Dear distinguished guests, dear Mrs. Rajavi, dear people of Free Iran, dear women on the streets of Iran, I greet you. I am Kira Rudik, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and leader of the political party Voice. I am speaking from Kyiv, Ukraine. If you are looking at the past year, you would call it a year of the fight for freedom.
Because last year the world has seen an enormous amount of people willing to fight and die for the values that they believe in and also for the freedom of their nations, either the people of Ukraine and the people of free Iran. Last year we have seen what happens when tyranny decides to destroy you, take you to the ground, and to strip you of your rights as a human being and as a nation. We have seen what happens when a person and a nation say, no, we are not going to be destroyed. We are not going to be forgotten, we are not going to stop. We are going to fight.
Moreover, we are going to win. Last year I had the privilege to meet Mrs. Rajivi in Ashraf, and I was so worried about how long the fight would take and how long we can sustain it, and if we will have power in our hands to go forward with it. She told me one thing we can and we must because we can and we must. Fighting for our future, for our freedom, for human rights.
I bow to you, women of Free Iran, for your ability to fight for what you believe. At. I know in my heart what the courage and power it takes to stand up to tyranny and oppression and put everything that you have on the line because there is something much more important than your life and much more important than everything else. Something that you believe. It’s freedom that we are fighting for the next generations.
It was incredibly important for us to know that we are not alone in this fight and that there are people of the whole world standing with us, supporting us. Dear women of Free Iran, I want to tell you, you are not alone. We are supporting you. We are standing with you. We are standing together in this fight.
And I’m absolutely sure that we will prevail because what history tells us, is that tyrannies fall and that freedom prevails. Thank you so much. Glory to Ukraine. Glory to free Iran.
Åse Kleveland, former Minister of Culture in Norway
My name is Åse Kleveland, former minister of culture in Norway, and a member of the Labor Party of Norway. Today I would like to salute your struggle and battle over 40 years in this movement to achieve a secular and democratic government with full respect for gender equality and human rights. The criterion for democracy and progress in any society is measured by women’s status and active participation. Participation in the decisions is of great importance to us all. On one hand, we are witnessing a fundamentalist regime, on the other hand, we see women as a force that believes in changing the system. As we speak, many women fight for their freedom, so many suffered so many are punished and a number of women have even died for a better Iran.
Maryam Rajavi has planned for the future of Iran to be free of discrimination where men and women are equal. We must help women achieve equal freedom and rights. We must stand in solidarity with women all around the world. Iranian women play a significant role in freeing Iran. They are heading this march and the Iranian women have been speaking out that equality without justice and democracy is impossible. In fact, with thanks to all those brave women, I salute you here. They have stepped into action with the power of change. We have seen all the demonstrations that are taking place in Iran. Iranian women never gave up despite their sufferings and continued to demand justice. Look at the women of the resistance units and look at your leader, Mrs. Rajavi who is carrying the weight of this fight.
Thank you, all Iranian women. I congratulate you on the celebration of International Women’s Day and I can see the dawn of a new world in Iran. All the best luck.
Rama Yade, former French Minister of Human Rights
Iranian women have been fighting for years to claim their rights to equality and freedom. Mahsa Amini’s death on September 16 2022 was a tragedy and a turning point. It triggered a shock in Iran and mobilized whole sections of society far beyond women. Their faces are now everywhere on the walls of the world’s capitals, social networks are buzzing with their acts of bravery and their sacrifice. Televisions and radios debate their motivations. Movies take them as role models. Young people as examples. The Iranian woman now represents all women in search of freedom. Women’s Month celebrates them, more than any other, because we know that they speak for all.
It would be too simple to reduce their resistance to the veil. They fight to be free to be whatever they want. Despite the risks, they are fighting for a profound change in society in Iran. Many are in prison. Many died. Access to the internet is hindered every day. Censorship is everywhere.
Today, the death toll seems much higher than the official figures. We are talking about unlawful killings. There are also hundreds injured and more than a thousand people arbitrarily arrested and detained.
On October 26 and 27, as Iranians commemorated the 40th day of Mahsa Amini’s death, security forces unlawfully killed again in the provinces of Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Lorestan, and Kermanshah.
By demonstrating in the streets, the Iranian people are demanding changes for their most fundamental freedoms. These are legitimate demands which should not be repressed.
The global momentum generated by the death of Mahsa Amini must be followed by concrete steps by the international community to address the crisis of impunity in Iran.
The very poor state of the Iranian economy has become in recent weeks an important factor in the anger of the population. Iran’s currency continues to fall. The women’s expectations are also related to this and to the repressive nature of the regime.
The neighbors fear contagion. The West relies on financial and political sanctions. But we must not abandon the Iranian women. Yasaman Aryani, Saba Kordafshari, Armita Abbasi… These Iranian women, symbols of the struggle for women’s rights in Iran, were released from prison. Important good news that we owe to their bravery but also to the support of international opinions, NGOs, associations, and feminist movements.
It is rare to see a feminist movement being the trigger, the driver, and the heart of a national revolution: this is the strength of this movement. They are the direction of this movement. Like in the MEK and with Mrs. Rajavi, they lead the movement. Ms. Rajavi has led the way for 30 years. I thank her for that.
Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)/ Nobel Peace Prize 2022/ Democracy Defender Award of OSCE 2016
The behavior of the Iranian regime toward women is inhuman. The Iranian authorities use gender discrimination as a tool to suppress women and make half the population invisible.
The demands of Iranian women are not extraordinary. They just simply ask to be recognized as human beings. I’m a Ukrainian woman and I am In full solidarity with my Iranian sisters. I know that they face enormous persecution, torture, beatings, detention, abductions, sexual violence, Killings, and other kinds of offenses.
I am aware that the Iranian government even deliberately persecutes schoolgirls because they’re Afraid of the young generation. They know that their own time is ending.
I live in Kyiv, and my native City, like other Ukrainian cities, is constantly being shelled not just by Russian rockets, But also with Iranian drones because the regimes of Russia and Iran cooperate with each other.
And we people who are fighting for freedom and human dignity, have to support each other as well. Because our future Depends on the result of the battle of Iranian women. And I know that sometimes our fight For freedom and human dignity may seem without sense because of the enormous opposing power. But we must continue our fight honestly and the result, even unexpectedly, will be achieved.
Melissa Lantsman, Canadian MP
Hi, I’m Melissa Lantsman, a member of parliament from Thornhill Canada, and the deputy leader of Canada’s official opposition, part of the conservative party. Part of the conservative party that has been with you, marching with you since the beginning of this revolution.
And six months later the beat of the revolution beats strong. And we will stand with you until the end until there is a free Iran.
This revolution has been led by women. All revolutions in the world have started with young people, with women, with young men, with poets, with architects with everyone in between marching for freedom, marching for human rights, marching for democracy, marching for a future free of the mullahs and the dictators that have ruined Iran, that has made the world a more dangerous place. We will continue to stand with you by calling on the Canadian government to finally do the right thing, to list the IRGC as terrorists, and to stop these mullahs with spreading their wings across the world and making the world a more dangerous place. We will stand with those who are fighting this revolution for a free Iran for a better future. For the women, for the men for the young people for the future of Iran that looks to the values of freedom, a democracy of the rule of law.
Former advisor to the Egyptian President Dr. Azza Hikal
In the International Day for Women and the International Month for Women. I’d like to express my gratitude to the Iranian women and to all the oppressed women all over the world. And we should pay tribute and we should mention the name of Maryam Rajavi with pride and esteem because she has been fighting bravely and peacefully for Iranian women all over the world. She is calling with all her team for regaining and recovering the rights to freedom, the rights of equality, and the right of being treated humanely for Iranian women.
Again, I think that all groups, all women groups, all NGOs, and all societies should support oppressed women all over the world. Whether in Iran, in Palestine, in Syria, in Africa, in all places, in all countries, all over the world. Women are the womb of life. Women are the womb of love, and according to our Islamic doctrines, women are as equal as men. Women have the same rights.
All that we are given is for our benefit, for our equality, because we are human beings. We are the creation of the great.
Albanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee member Elona Gjebrea
On the occasion of International Woman’s Day of Iranian Resistance, I would like to recall my support and solidarity for women in Iran who are going under constant threat and massacres under the autocratic regime of Mullahs. The Iranian resistance and the movement of Madame Rajavi have to be supported all across the world. The US congress has supported a resolution as well as ten point plant of Madame Rajavi across as well as 166 members of parliament of both parties. Albanian political parties in Albania and the women in Albania are supporting the Madame Rajavi movement as an alternative for a free Iran, a democratic, secular, non-nuclear republic of Iran. Again, on this special day, I would like to recall that we may have to be together.
The voice of women has to get heard and the leadership of women such as Madam Rajavi has to be widely recognized. I would like on this occasion to wish you a happy, confident, and happy Women’s Day. Thank you.
MEP Susanna Ceccardi
In Tehran, a population of young people, women, and men are only asking to be free, to dress as they like, to vote what they like, and to profess their religion without estimates. The courage of the Iranians in recent weeks is slowly tearing down the wall of fear built by Khamenei in decades of terror. A wall of violence, repression, and violation of rights. A wall of death and pain bathed in the blood of these innocent people who take to the streets and dreams.
As Europeans, we firmly support the empowerment of women and girls and the rare conviction of their equal dignity. We stand up to this regime and condemn the systematic use of isolation and arrest of political opponents. I’m close to the Iranian democratic resistance which, despite the terrible oppression of the government in Tehran today as yesterday, does not give up and continues bravery to fight for the freedom of all Iranians who look towards a future of peace and rights.
Sonia Hornery, member of the Australian Parliament
Hello, I’m Sonia Hornery MP from Wallsend New South Wales Australia. I want to send this message on International Women’s Day to celebrate all of our women around the world.
International Women’s Day is especially important for our Iranian sisters for what they have endured in the past 4 decades under the dictatorship of the mullahs and the shah. We say no to the shah, we say no to the dictatorship, and we say no to the mullahs. Now, Iranian women have endured too much torture, imprisonment, and even death in their pursuit of equality.
We say to the Iranian dictatorship that you need to consider and must change for democracy because with democracy we have equality, separation of religion, and politics and we treat our human beings as equals. We have freedom of leadership, and we have the right to vote. So, on International Women’s Day, I want to lend my full support to all of my Iranian sisters. I wish them very well and ask that democracy is restored in Iran.
In Cuneo, we experienced an awful war for freedom and liberty for twenty years to fight the dictatorships of Hitler and Mussolini. The city of Cuneo gave honorary citizenship to Maryam Rajavi. It is the city of freedom and the fight for freedom. So, it is important for us. It was the first city in Italy to declare sisterhood with Ashraf. I met Madam Rajavi in 2016 and gave her and all Iranian women fighting for their country Italian citizenship.
We want to resist because we are together and we want to support the Iranian Resistance. Long live democracy and freedom.