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Conference in Brussels Highlights Support for Iranian Women’s Struggle for Change

On Tuesday, April 9, a conference titled “Torch-bearers of Change: Supporting the Long Struggle of Women in Iran” was held at the European Parliament in Brussels chaired by MEP Radka Maxová, Deputy Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament.

The meeting also welcomed representatives of the Iranian European Association from various European countries, emphasizing the importance of international solidarity in advancing the cause of Iranian women’s rights and freedom.

Participating remotely in the conference, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), delivered a resolute message, stating, “Rebellious women in Iran address the regime: We are your nightmare, and know that you will be overthrown. Women prisoners from Evin without an iota of doubt or fear, with all our being, cry out: Tyrant, we will overthrow you.”

Drawing attention to the regime’s widespread misogyny and its parallels with its export of war and terrorism, Ms. Rajavi emphasized the stark reality of women’s resistance that has endured for the past 45 years, with tens of thousands of women enduring torture or execution in the pursuit of freedom for their people.

Highlighting the pivotal role of Iranian women at the forefront of organized resistance, both domestically and internationally, Mrs. Rajavi underscored their leadership as an essential prerequisite for liberating all people from authoritarianism and fundamentalism.

Commenting on the recent sham elections, which proved to be a significant embarrassment for the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei due to widespread societal discontent and a nationwide boycott, Mrs. Rajavi pointed out that those securing seats in the Tehran parliament received a mere 7% of eligible votes, signaling a profound rejection of the regime’s legitimacy.

Reflecting on the failure of Western governments’ attempts to appease the regime with concessions, Mrs. Rajavi condemned the regime’s exploitation of these concessions to bolster its nuclear and missile programs and to exacerbate conflicts in the Middle East.

Furthermore, Mrs. Rajavi highlighted the unified stance of 400 female political figures worldwide, who, on International Women’s Day, emphasized their commitment to supporting the courageous women of Iran in their demand for regime change and the establishment of democracy, gender equality, and justice.

Concluding her address, Mrs. Rajavi reiterated the NCRI’s vision for the future of Iran, advocating for a democratic republic founded on the principles of the separation of religion and state, gender equality, the abolition of the death penalty, and the autonomy of nationalities. She emphasized the call for a non-nuclear Iran as a cornerstone of this vision.

In her remarks, MEP Radka Maxová highlighted the dire situation faced by women and girls in Iran, where they are treated as second-class citizens and subjected to systemic discrimination and violence. She cited reports from the UN special rapporteur on Iran and the UN FACT mission, which documented executions, human rights violations, and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the regime, particularly targeting women and girls.

Despite these challenges, the Czech MEP commended the resilience of Iranian women and girls who are organizing and leading resistance movements across the country. She stressed the importance of endorsing Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan for a democratic republic in Iran, which advocates for gender equality, separation of religion and state, abolition of the death penalty, and a non-nuclear Iran.

MEP Maxová called upon the Council, Member States, and the Parliament to recognize the reality of Iranian women’s struggle and to take concrete actions to support their aspirations. She urged for greater accountability and prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations in Iran under existing UN mechanisms.

MEP Javier Zarzalejos, head of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup, expressed profound admiration for Mrs. Maryam Rajavi‘s leadership and highlighted the significance of Mrs. Rajavi’s initiatives, particularly her plan on women’s rights and freedom.

MEP Zarzalejos emphasized the importance of recognizing the dignity of all human beings, regardless of gender, and commended Mrs. Rajavi for her efforts in empowering Iranian women. He affirmed that her Ten-Point Plan aligns with the vision of a democratic, pluralistic, and equal Iran advocated by the NCRI. He emphasized the growing global awareness of the oppressive nature of the Iranian regime, particularly its warmongering and destabilizing actions in the Middle East.

The Spanish MEP welcomed Mrs. Rajavi’s initiative as a crucial step forward in advancing the NCRI’s goals and enhancing its international standing. He concluded by expressing pride in standing alongside strong and empowered women like Mrs. Rajavi in the pursuit of justice and equality.

During her remarks, MEP Dorien Rookmaker emphasized Mrs. Rajavi’s role as an inspiration to people around the world. Drawing from her own experiences attending the International Women’s Day conference in Paris, the Dutch MEP recounted the powerful atmosphere of solidarity and shared purpose among women from diverse backgrounds, underscoring the broad-based support for the Iranian opposition movement.

Reflecting on the historical significance of women’s resistance in Iran, MEP Rookmaker acknowledged the tremendous sacrifices made by Iranian women in the pursuit of freedom and democracy. She condemned the Iranian regime’s systematic repression and misogyny, affirming the importance of recognizing the strength and resilience of Iranian women in the face of adversity.

MEP Rookmaker turned her attention to the case of Maryam Akbari-Monfared, a symbol of courage and perseverance in the face of injustice. She called for international solidarity in advocating for justice for Maryam Akbari-Monfared and all those unjustly imprisoned by the regime.

In closing, MEP Rookmaker pledged her unwavering support for Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan for a democratic Iran and urged concerted efforts to hold the regime accountable for its human rights abuses. She emphasized the urgency of removing the oppressive regime in Iran and expressed confidence in the eventual triumph of democracy and freedom.

MEP Margarita de la Pisa Carrión expressed solidarity with the courageous women and girls of Iran who are at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and democracy. The Spanish MEP also expressed admiration for Mrs. Rajavi’s leadership and sacrifices in advancing the cause of human rights in Iran.

Highlighting Iran’s rich history and civilization, MEP Carrión lamented the decades-long occupation by fundamentalist rule, which has deprived women of their fundamental rights. She emphasized the legacy of 120 years of struggle for freedom and equality led by Iranian women, underscoring their resilience in the face of adversity.

MEP Carrión paid tribute to the acts of resistance carried out by women of the Iranian opposition, who have endured rape, torture, repression, and execution in their pursuit of justice. She praised their unwavering commitment to the cause, noting their continued presence on the front lines of protests.

In closing, MEP Carrión reiterated the importance of supporting the women of Iran and affirmed the commitment to working towards a free and democratic Iran. She called upon the European Union and the international community to recognize and acknowledge the aspirations of the Iranian people, expressing hope for a future celebration of freedom in Tehran.

MEP Petras Auštrevičius, from EP’s Foreign Affairs Commission, expressed deep concern over the ongoing human rights violations and conflicts in Iran. Emphasizing the suppression of political rights and freedom of expression by the regime, he condemned the barbaric practice of public executions and called for accountability for those responsible.

Drawing parallels between the oppressive regimes in Iran and Afghanistan, the Lithuanian MEP denounced their efforts to silence dissenting voices, particularly targeting women. He expressed alarm over the potential collaboration between these regimes and called for international scrutiny and action.

Reflecting on the role of the younger generation in the fight for freedom, MEP Auštrevičius commended Mrs. Rajavi for her leadership and initiatives, expressing hope for continued activism and engagement from the European Parliament. He emphasized the collective responsibility to stand against oppression and support the aspirations of the Iranian people for a better future.

In his remarks, MEP Leopoldo Lopez Gil expressed gratitude for the strength and determination of women like Mrs. Rajavi. He emphasized his unwavering support for the freedom of Iran and the empowerment of its women.

In a heartfelt expression of solidarity, the Spanish-Venezuelan MEP affirmed his commitment to standing alongside courageous Iranian women in their pursuit of freedom and justice. He thanked Mrs. Rajavi for her service and leadership, underscoring the profound impact of her efforts on the global stage.

MEP Francisco Guerreiro stressed the importance of considering environmental and resource management in the context of Iran’s challenges. He emphasized the critical role of women and the younger generation in managing essential resources like water and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

The Portuguese MEP underscored the importance of supporting initiatives that promote women’s rights and freedoms, recognizing them as fundamental elements for a fair and equitable transition in Iran. He expressed gratitude for the leadership of figures like Mrs. Rajavi, who paved the way for positive change and pledged his unwavering support for their cause.

In closing, Guerreiro reiterated his commitment, along with his family and community, to stand in solidarity with those fighting for justice and freedom in Iran.