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HomeIran News NowIran Opposition & ResistanceLive Report: Global Conference Marking March 8, International Women's Day

Live Report: Global Conference Marking March 8, International Women’s Day

Dozens of women leaders, lawmakers, influencers, and activists from around the world have gathered in Berlin, Germany, and joined thousands on an online conference to honor International Women’s Day and call for solidarity. Organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose membership consists of more than 50 percent women, the Global Conference in Berlin wants to get convey the message that change is necessary, inevitable, and past due.

Connected online to Ashraf 3 in Albania as well as hundreds of other locations around the world, the conference expresses its support for the struggles of women worldwide, especially the resistance of Iranian women for freedom, equal rights, and elimination of unjust discriminations.

In her opening remarks, NCRI Women’s Committee Chair Sarvenaz Chitsas praised the resistance of the women of Ukraine who are actively joining their brothers in defending their country from invasion.

 

 

THIS PAGE IS BEING UPDATED AS THE CONFERENCE PROCEEDS

 

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

International Women’s Day is celebrated by those who have been deprived of most empowerment opportunities but are harbingers of humankind’s power and responsibility in today’s world. And today, I extend my warmest greetings to the proud people of Ukraine, especially to the valiant women of that country.

Millions of women and girls have risen up for freedom and rushed to the battlefield in droves; from ministers and parliamentarians to elderly mothers, have taken up arms. Hail to mothers who sent their children to others so that they could themselves join the resistance, and to smiling and spirited young girls who make Molotov cocktails.

I am reminded of women and girls of the People’s Mojahedin in the massacre of our prisoners in 1988 on Khomeini’s fatwa. They walked to the gallows with clenched fists and while chanting defiantly.

The Ukrainian people’s resistance is not only an epic in defending the honor and survival of their country but also 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. 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.

Women pioneer protest movements

Congratulations on this day to all the women around the world, especially my sisters in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and Lebanon. International Women’s Day is a day of pride and honor for Iranian women. Because throughout this year, as in the past four decades, they have stood against the monster of misogyny, coercion, plunder, and oppression.

Throughout the past year, women were at the forefront everywhere in all protest movements, from the uprisings in Khuzestan, Isfahan, and Shahrekord to the protests of teachers, nurses, and the defrauded investors.

On November 21, when the uprising of the brave Bakhtiari people reached its peak, the brave women of Shahrekord were the ones who stepped on a platform outside the governorate, calling on the people to continue the uprising.

In the past year, Iranian teachers have held 19 nationwide strikes and protests, which at times spread to 80, 100, or 116, or 200 cities and counties. In all these protests, women teachers played a pivotal role.

At the same time, selfless women and girls formed their Resistance Units in various cities. They opened the way for anti-regime protests by their activities against repression. This is the real image of Iranian women.

Resistance gives credibility to a nation’s raison d’ȇtre

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 for eliminating it. They shattered many superstitions and reactionary prohibitions and paved the way for the resistance to advance.

Even under heavy blows, they maintained their lively spirit. They have always given priority to the movement’s interests over their own to keep alight the flames of the fight for freedom. They gave up their homes and families, their parents, spouses, and children to join the ranks of the resistance and have happily accepted the pain of such separation.

They did not think about what the outcome would be. Whether they will win or not? Instead, they focused on their responsibility to liberate their people and homeland. In the face of the enemy and its repressive forces, despite the extremely unequal balance of power, they showed no fear. They have insisted that a determined group, albeit small and limited, could pave the way for victory and turn the circumstances in favor of the people.

Women, force for change and progress

Despite their profound suffering, the two-year calamity during the Coronavirus pandemic and half-a-million fatalities, and widespread poverty and hunger, today Iranian women speak not about their grief but about hope for freedom and equality. They speak not about their pain but of a future that is not a distant dream and is achievable.

After the mullahs’ overthrow, Iran will be safe from the bitter experiences of the past, only if there is a real democracy with freedom and equality. And you women are the ones who can make this happen.

As stipulated in the NCRI’s Plan on Women’s Rights and Freedoms, individual freedoms for women, including freedom of belief, religion, employment, travel, and choice of clothing, are inevitable imperatives. Indeed, I must stress that freedom must be achieved, and it is up to you to earn it through your struggle.

All forms of coercion on women in family affairs, polygamy, physical, sexual, and psychological violence, and all forms of sexual exploitation of women and whatever the reactionary and patriarchal regimes imposed on Iranian women must be eradicated. The era of oppression must end which is what Iranian women deserve.

But the dark and bleak destiny does not change except through your mighty hands. The reactionary oppressors who have taken you captive will never give you freedom and equality willingly; Rise up and overthrow them!

You are the determining force, and you are the force for change! You are the force of real progress and development in the free Iran of tomorrow!

Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik

My life changed ten days ago after the war came to our country and Russia invaded Ukraine. This was for a reason. Everything we did will make us stronger. Ten days ago, I was a Member of Parliament. It turned out that my life will never be the same. There are people who want to take our country, our homes from us. I decided not to let this happen. I decided that I will bear arms and defend my country. I got my Kalashnikov and created my resistance unit. I train every day to protect myself and my loved ones. 

All countries of the world said that we would not stand a chance and Kyiv would fall in 24-48 hours. It’s ten days and we are still standing. This happened because of our army and because of the bravery of the resistance. There are people on every inch of Ukrainian soil who will not allow them to take our land. 

As a woman, I can tell you about our suffering. Our children are learning what war is and it’s terrible. Why do children have to go through this? Children must go to bomb shelters every day.  

This is what gives me the courage to train myself every day, to protect myself and my country. The Russian army is advancing on Kyiv, and they say there will be a siege. We are preparing. We will show that resistance will always be here, and we will not give up without a fight. Resistance is the only way to protect our land. 

I’m so proud that here in Ukraine, women are ready to do this and have joined me in my resistance team. When planning to attack Ukraine, Putin only counted the men. He miscalculated. He didn’t think the women would fight, would protect their country. We will overcome. We will fight for our values and for our freedom. 

Helle Thorning Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark‎

You are our inspiration. Your fight will not only change Iran but will inspire women around the world. Your country will begin a new future. You will inspire women all around the world. The female power is enormous. Misogynist leaders are afraid of female empowerment and female agency. They will try to tell us it’s better to not engage, to stay home. They will tell us we don’t have the courage, brain, or stamina. 

Women and girls in Iran are the prime victims of the misogynist machine. It would have been easier for them to stay home. But they did not do that. Iranian women have chosen a different path. They have not submitted to the regime. They have turned into a force for change in Iran. They know their rights will only be achieved with political change in Iran. They know they can’t achieve their lives under a misogynist regime. Women in Iran participate in resistance for freedom. This participation is unique, not only in Iran but in the whole world.  

It is remarkable that the NCRI is actually 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.  

The international community should stand with the desire of the Iranian people for a democratic, secular republic. We stand with you. The world needs to stand with the Iranian people. I’m here to tell you that you inspire us. 

Urška Bačovnik Janša, Spouse to the Slovenian Prime Minister

It’s a great honor and pleasure to attend this conference with so many distinguished guests under the great leadership of Maryam Rajavi. As a Muslim woman, Maryam 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. 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. But despite all their heroic efforts, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues restricting the rights of Iranian women and erasing them from all levels of society.

Iranian women continue being the first victims of the regime. They continue facing unimaginable discriminatory laws for the 21st century. Women not being able to travel abroad or obtain a passport without the written permission of their male guardians. Women are prohibited from singing or dancing or women facing up to fifteen years in prison and receiving lashes for the so-called bad hijab.

I continue being deeply affected by numerous reports of sexual abuse that Iranian women have witnessed in prisons. Numerous women continue being executed. There are serious concerns over a rigid judicial system.

Women are executed for murder but the reality is they are just victims of horrendous domestic abuses. They will kill to defend themselves or their children since they have no legal means to end an abusive marriage. Unfortunately, I could continue with other examples of the outrageous situation of women in Iran, but my time is limited.

So, 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.

Ukrainian MP Lisa Yasko

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 the 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. 

Michèlle Alliot-Marie, MEP, Former Interior, Defense, Foreign and Justice Minister of France 

Women give the world to everyone. This is what Maryam Rajavi has been doing for so many years. Women give life, carry hopes for peace, for freedom, for greater respect. 

You represent those values for the Iranian people and for all women and all the people. The world has never been so dangerous. The number of crises is increasing in the Middle East, Ukraine, Asia, and Africa. A greater role for women is a key factor. Women should show their full potential and creativity.  

I would like to thank the Iranian women. Never give up in front of oppressors. I am by your side, Maryam Rajavi. I stand by all Iranian women. Maryam Rajavi has been defending the values of freedom and democracy. 

Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to the United States President 

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. 

I think about the risks the women of the Iranian Resistance continue to take each day, taking part in farmers’ protests, and teachers’ protests across Iran. The ranks of women in the resistance are growing. More women are joining the fight. They are encouraging everyone in Iran to do their part. The plight of women in Iran has motivated them to take part in the struggle. I continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this fight. 

It is not at all surprising that the sharp edge of the regime’s discriminatory policies is directed at women. We must acknowledge that the engagement of the US with Ebrahim Raisi, who is responsible for so many crimes against humanity, is offensive. We must not engage with him in nuclear talks. We can no longer sit idly by and see disturbing images of women abused, beaten, and shot in Iran, and think that it is a separate issue. We must ensure that women are treated equally in Iran. I continue to be humbled by your courage and strength.

Linda Chavez, former White House Director of the Office of Public Liaison  

It’s important to understand and tie what is going on in Ukraine today and what it might hold for Iran in the future. Putin is terrorizing Ukraine because he has nuclear weapons. There is another country that tries to obtain nuclear weapons and that is Iran. Can you imagine what Iran’s regime would do if it had nuclear weapons? The Iranian Resistance knows what war is like. When they were in Iraq, rockets rained on them. 

You are joined together to talk about women’s rights. But women’s rights are indistinguishable from human rights. No country can claim to champion human rights if it doesn’t respect the rights of half of its population. Iran’s women are kept prisoner by a regime that does not respect human dignity. 

But they have risen in major cities and small towns to speak out in resistance. Many times, they are imprisoned. Khamenei is a man who has ambitions to the people of Iran and the world what Vladimir Putin is doing to the people of Ukraine. We must resist the wars that are being waged against our people. 

In Iran, we won’t see women’s rights until the regime is changed. This will not happen without the support of people around the world. Keep up the fight for freedom, for women, for our children. 

Rita Süssmuth, former President of the German Bundestag (1985-1988)

We have to put an end to discrimination against women. There are enough women who have shown what they can achieve. We don’t need anybody to tell us what to do. 

It is hatred and brutality that we see, and this must come to an end. We are still a minority when it comes to the participation of women, including in Europe. We need to work together for peace. 

We have to do more things together. Men will see that there is more resistance from women because they won’t wait to see what happens. We want to save people. When it comes to looking after our own people, we have to try to consider how many people we can accommodate. We have to help however we can. 

There’s a cold war against anyone who resists the system. That requires our respect. I almost cry when I think about the things that Iranian women are going through. This can’t continue. Don’t believe that we are too weak to show resistance. 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. It is not that we simply accept that we can’t do anything. We are at least as strong as men. 

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, German Minister of Defense (2019-2021) 

We are talking about strong women in Iran. If we talk about women’s rights, we are talking about the rights of half of the Earth’s population. If we accept fundamentalists and their interpretations, then we don’t have human rights at all.  

This is why your congress is important for women across the world. The international community has clarified that from the beginning of the fundamentalist regime in Iran, the rights of women have been limited systematically.  

It is important to make each woman strong, make sure she is confident. Two-thirds of students in Iran are women, one-third of the workforce is female. If we cannot manifest this politically in Iran and change the fundamentalist system, their successes will be marginalized.  

On the one hand, we see a fundamentalist regime, and on the other, we see women as a force that believes they can change the system. A lot of women fight for their freedom even though if 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.

We need to help women to achieve freedom and equal rights. We need to fight with the women around the world. We need solidarity. 

Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian Politician, Former Senator, and Anti-corruption Activist

Women’s struggle around the world unites us. We are all freedom fighters. We have learned to resist and never give up. When women are not safe, no one is safe. When we fight for our rights, we fight for a world that respects human rights. Every second, all over the planet, women are fighting against tyranny. Every day, women are risking their lives to defend freedom and equality and to defend their rights and the rights of their children. 

Our sisters in Iran have lived under tyranny. The new generations don’t have any experience of what a democratic environment means. They are risking everything; these young women have taken up the flag against the mullahs’ dictatorship. They have learned the hard way that tolerance of tyranny is not acceptable.  

Iranian women have reached a very important conclusion: they can only achieve their rights with a change of regime in Iran. Therefore, they must play their role in the resistance against the regime. But they have gone one step further. They realize that to achieve their goal they must take responsibility at all levels, including at the political level. 

Tens of thousands of women of the Iranian Resistance have been tortured and executed. Women have taken responsibility in the organization. But they have gone further and made the presence of women in leadership the new normal. They are offering a new paradigm, a new role model for women and men. It is one of the most impressive achievements of the Iranian Resistance. It would not have been possible without the leadership of Maryam Rajavi. 4

Maryam Rajavi transformed the Iranian Resistance into a liberation army that is most feared by the mullahs’ regime. 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, Minister of Defence of Albania (2013–2017) 

The foremost field of bias against women is political leadership. The empowerment of women’s role is an important priority. Discrimination imposed on Iranian women amounts to gender apartheid. Iran is run by a misogynist regime. In the past 40 years, it has imposed extreme pressure on women. Iranian women are totally absent from ministerial positions. This is due to the ruling regime that hinders women’s participation in key fields. It’s not because women are not competent. We see a completely different picture when we look at the role of women in the Iranian Resistance. 

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.  

US Representative Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

I am honored to join you today as we mark International Women’s Day. We set aside this day each year as a global holiday to commemorate the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is Break the Bias, a movement aimed at bringing us forward to a gender-equal world. In order to break the bias, we must acknowledge the bias.

It exists in our schools and workplaces, our communities, and even our homes. Whether deliberate or unconscious, the bias makes it not only difficult but sometimes impossible for women to move forward. For the many gains women have made in countries across the world, there are several places in which the subjugation of women is more than biased. It is an ingrained practice, an accepted social norm. This is what Iranian women face every day. Yet even in the face of such tyranny, there are many who have and have and continue to stand up and fight for their equality and freedom.

Their resistance is often met by aggression, violence, and even more oppression. And this is why we must stand with them in support of their fight. Today, as we mark International Women’s Day, let us unite our voices in solidarity. Let us send a message of strength and hope to those brave Iranian women who are not only making the fight for themselves but for their fellow sisters and future generations of women and of children.

US Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (D-WA) 

I have the honor and privilege of representing the Fourth Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. Each year on March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day to recognize the progress of and the accomplishments of women around the world and recommit to ending the inequalities that still exist because we can only achieve equality when we recognize the disparities and work together to eliminate them. This year, I want to send a special message to the supporting women of the Iranian movement who have been at the forefront of this movement for equality and freedom. Your resistance against tyranny and your leadership benefits your communities and your nation.

We must work together to achieve policies here in the United States and around the world that prioritize women’s rights know that I stand in solidarity with Ukrainian women and women around the world living under oppressive regimes, including our Ukrainian sisters, who are fighting for their very freedoms as we speak. But you’re working every day and making sacrifices to expand opportunities for women and girls and to chart a path forward towards a better future and for that, I want to thank you.

US Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) 

This year, I want to send a special message to the supporting women of the Iranian movement who have been at the forefront of this movement for equality and freedom. Your resistance against tyranny and your leadership benefits your communities and your nation. 

We must work together to achieve policies here in the United States and around the world that prioritize women’s rights know that I stand in solidarity with Iranian women and women around the world living under oppressive regimes, including our Ukrainian sisters, who are fighting for their very freedoms as we speak. But you’re working every day and making sacrifices to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to chart a path forward towards a better future and for that, I want to thank you. 

US Congresswoman Deborah Ross (D-NC) 

Greetings for your annual women’s conference, celebrating women who are fighting for their rights in Iran. It is so important that we support women’s struggle for human rights all around the world and particularly in Iran, where there has been so much upheaval. I applaud you for what you are doing to help your sisters in Iran. And I applaud the Iranian women who are standing in harm’s way every day to fight for their rights. Have a wonderful conference and please know that I am with you.

US Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, (D-VA)

as we celebrate International Women’s Day, and in particular, celebrate the courage, resilience, and leadership of the Iranian women’s movement in Iran. Today, women are subject to alarming levels of violence in their own homes and in Iranian society. It is deeply concerning to hear the tragic stories of women executed, murdered, and abused with no accountability from the state.

For far too long, the policies and practices of the Iranian regime have not protected the safety and wellbeing of women. The result is women living in fear and despair, and it’s unacceptable. The rate of violence against women and girls has only become direr during the COVID pandemic, underscoring the urgent need to raise awareness and take action. That’s why I want to take the time to share my admiration for the heroic Iranian women who have stood up for their rights and dignity. For decades now. The women of Iran have helped lead the charge for greater freedoms inequality in Iran and around the world.

You’ve rallied attention to the violence that Iranian women are suffering, demanded justice for those wrongfully imprisoned for their political activism, and made it clear that Iranian women not only deserve but will actively fight for their equal rights. It’s inspiring to see and I want you to know that I’m proud to stand with those in the movement for women’s Liberty in Iran and all across the world. Whether you’re part of this movement from Iran or a member of the global Iranian community, or here in the US and in my home state of Virginia, I wish you the best and once again, offer my support for this important and urgent cause.

Maria da Graca Carvalho, Minister of Science and Higher Education from Portugal (2003-2005) 

In Iran, brain drain is very serious and includes many women and girls. Many girls leave Iran, including scientists, engineers, and doctors. I wish Iran creates more opportunities for younger generations, and Iranian women and girls do not face discrimination. I express my solidarity with women across the world, especially the women of Iran and the mothers of Iran who are key for promotion in Iran. 

Dominique Attias, President of European Law Society Federation from France

Iranian women are playing a major role in a free Iran. For many years, Iranian women know equality is impossible without justice and democracy. They have taken to action with the strength of change, thanks to those brave women that I do salute here. We have seen that in all of Iran’s demonstrations. 

Despite their suffering, Iranian women have never given up and have continued to stand for justice. Look at the women in the Resistance Units. Look at your leader, my friend, Mrs. Rajavi, who is carrying the weight of this fight. 

Since the very beginning of this fight, she has said we can, and we must. Never give up. Women are the strength of change across the globe. The brave women of Ukraine are standing to defend their country and are paying the price today. We stand alongside those women. They are reflecting the fight of Iranian women. I can see the dawn of a new world in Iran, thanks to you, Maryam Rajavi, and all these Iranian women. 

Marianne Binder-Keller, Member of the Swiss Federal Assembly

I admire your motivation, your movement, and what you’re fighting for. You show courage and work a lot in the fight for equality. I admire the women who fight for equality. 

Disinformation protects those who support wars and governments that oppress. Islam can go hand in hand with modern life. After the 1979 revolution, I was shocked to see the situation of women in Iran. It is very important to know what happens in Iran now. I see pictures of a young woman who has been executed by her husband, a sportsman killed because he was critical of the regime, people executed in public. This touches me. 

It is important to take part in this struggle. We as an international community, as parliamentarians, should be active in every country, to be active for all people who want equal rights. I thank all the women who contribute to this fight, and I admire your engagement. 

Sylvia Lehmann, Member of the German Bundestag

Iran’s regime oppresses women in many ways and takes away their rights. The German Parliament has called on the German government to compel the Iranian government to stop the persecution of activists and women.  

For us citizens in the West, we can’t imagine the scale of suffering of Iranian women and girls. Girls are held accountable legally at the age of nine. Minor girls are forced into marriage. Women activists suffer from terrible conditions in Iran’s prisons.  

International Women’s Day is a day where women’s rights must be recognized globally. A lot of courageous Iranian women fight for these rights and risk their lives. The thought of equality is not part of the government of Iran. Most Muslim women are against fundamentalist interpretations of Islam because it destroys the image of religion. We need to support these women in their struggle for equality. 

Ase Kleveland, former Norwegian Minister of Culture 

This year, we celebrate International Women’s Day at a time when women of two nations are fighting for justice and humanity, and for the fate of their people. First, the brave women of Ukraine who are fighting for their independence and against Russia’s illegitimate and unprovoked aggression on their country. It’s a shame. 

And second, the women of Iran, who are fighting against religious dictatorship, are at the forefront of all protests to establish human rights and democracy in their country. On this occasion, I want to tell all these women, you are not alone. We are with you. All women of the world are with you these days. 

I take this opportunity to express my deepest solidarity with the women of Ukraine and Iran and all other women of the world who are fighting for justice and for human rights. Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations and deep gratitude to the NCRI, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, for setting this conference up. 

Elona Gjebrea, Former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs 

The International community especially the women’s equality movement cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the Colossal and ongoing abuse of women’s fundamental rights by the religious dictatorship in Iran in the end.

Women’s equality movement is more than ever committed to bringing the efforts of all freedom-loving and dedicated women and others especially those in critical decision-making positions under a united umbrella with the emphasis on preventing all forms of discrimination in achieving the goal of freedom, democracy, and equality.

The Iranian people’s resistance movement and the 10-point plan of Madam Rajavi for a free and secular Iran is a remarkable and triumph force for eradication of the Iranian regime’s repression and discrimination for the establishment of peace and democracy in Iran.

I want also to recall that in 2000 the international community and the UN Commission on the status of women presented their 12-point plan, the platform of action to promote women’s equality eliminate all forms of discrimination, and review its progress on the international level.

 I think it is also a good time and a good moment for us to recall all these international duties but also to show our solidarity for women in Iran and for women across the world. Albania is even also in support of MEK and also Albanian policy against terrorism has been very clear and will be the same. We are all united together today in solidarity with women in Iran but also with the women across the world to show our empathy and to show and give our strong voice against any forms of discrimination, and who can do this better than the women.

Susanna Ceccardi, Member of the European Parliament from Itlay

I urge you to keep going. Freedom is an essential right and the price you pay is very heavy. You have the strength to change Iran. Iran’s regime is corrupt. It’s time for the West to stand with Iranians and oppose this dictatorship. Otherwise, what is happening with Russia will happen again.  

This regime is a threat, including a nuclear one. We can’t remain silent. Fighting against the Iranian dictatorship means making the world safer. Today, Iranian women are facing great sacrifice, but they are taking the path of change. Together, we will be able to obtain the sought-after rewards. The Iranian resistance is led by a great woman: Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. 

British MP Theresa Villiers

For many years, I’ve spoken out against human rights abuses in Iran. Women suffer double in Iran. Many women were killed during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Women are treated as second citizens by the Iranian legal system. But women are also playing a leading role in protest and dissent in Iran. I pay tribute to their bravery. They took huge risks to take part in the protests. I know many women support the ten-point plan for a better future for Iran. I hope one day we’ll see an end to the theocratic dictatorship and an end to the misogynist regime in Iran. 

Els Ampe, Member of the Senate of Belgium

I stand by all of you for freedom and democracy. Women in Iran suffer because the Iranian despot puts them down. That’s why I’m proud that the Iranian Resistance is led by a woman, Maryam Rajavi. All people are united for the wish for democracy. I stand by all people speaking up against tyrants. No one can destroy the force of your voice. 

Valentina Leskaj, former Acting Head of the Albanian Parliament

It’s a human obligation to be with women who suffer from the most terrible regime. Thousands of women have been put in prison, killed in the streets, or burned with acid, just because they want freedom. The revolution in Iran was about freedom for the Iranian people. They still want and deserve that. Women in the Iranian Resistance have sacrificed everything for freedom from religious dictatorship. 

From the resistance of people in Ukraine, this sacrifice has become more clear and meaningful to leaders in Europe. Iranian women are great symbols of sacrifice. You have taken responsibility to bring change to your country. You have not given up in these dark years. 

The new president Raisi is responsible for the executions of thousands of Iranian people. We must make it clear that the Iranian regime is a threat not only to the Iranian people but beyond that to international security and peace. The PMOI deserves the support of the international community. Maryam Rajavi is an inspiration for women across the globe. 

It is time for the regime to go. Iranian women deserve to choose their future. Freedom and equality are the only answer to the problems of the Iranian people. 

Ingjerd Schou, Norwegian MP

I’m a Norwegian parliamentarian in the Norwegian Parliament, and I’m also a member of the standing committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense and also chair of the delegation to the council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Dear Madam President, honorable panelists. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honor to join you in sending a strong message of support and solidarity with women and human rights activists in Iran. The situation of women in Iran is very alarming and deserves more international attention. This should be an urgent matter for the Norwegian government because Norway can play a crucial role and because it is prioritizing violence against women and girls.

Maryscott Greenwood, Former Chief of Staff to the US Ambassador to Canada

We know that when women come together when we support each other, we can change the world. We know that we must stand together, especially today. There are all kinds of evidence about how good it is for the world, for the economy, when women are in positions of influence and leadership. Here are just a couple of examples. If women according to the Boston Consulting Group, if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs, the global gross domestic product could rise up to 6%, immediately boosting the global economy by $5 trillion.

Think of what we could do for the economy if we just have peace, justice, equal participation of women across the board. If women played an identical role in the labor markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion or 26% could be added to the global annual domestic product by 2025. That’s according to McKinsey and Company. We know that when governments, diplomats, and companies come together and have women in positions of decision-making, the world is a better place for companies in the private sector. Where I’m from, we know that Fortune 500 companies with at least three women on their board of directors experienced a return of equity increase of more than 53%.

It’s the right thing to do for humanity. It’s a good thing to do for economics, and it’s a useful thing to do for business. We stand together in solidarity with you on International Women’s Day. Thank you so much for including me, and I wish you all the best for your conference.

Michèle de Vaucouleurs, French MP from the Democratic Movement

The Iranian regime is hostile to women. Iranian women are victims of mullahs’ repression. Those who stand up for their rights are threatened and jailed. Iran is the country with the most execution of women. This situation is unacceptable, and we must act together against this regime. 

Democratic Iran will only become achievable if the rights of women are respected. Women in Iran have been fighting for their rights for 40 years. The women of the Iranian Resistance have shown how to stand up against the misogynist mullahs. I salute Iranian women who are fighting for equality. We support them in their fight and share their hope of living in a country where their rights are respected. 

Ranjana Kumari, Indian Social Activist

Our brave, resilient, and defiant sisters in Iran have never succumbed to the misery of life under the mullahs’ religious rule. In contrast to the mullahs’ wish to isolate them at home and deny them their basic rights, Iranian women have never given in to the misogynist regime. They took to the streets at every opportunity and raised their voice against the clerical regime’s oppression.  

Mothers whose children were killed by security forces during the protests have been outspoken, seeking justice for their loved ones, fearing no arrest, imprisonment, or torture. I salute all the courageous mothers! 

As opposed to the institutionalized discrimination, that deprives them of political participation and decision-making, Iranian women took the lead in virtually every protest, strike, and demonstration to play their role in deciding their country’s fate. They formed their Resistance Units and spearheaded the uprisings. Their role is instrumental in breaking the chains of repression. I salute all the women in the resistance units from here! Salam! 

Whenever they face arrest and detention, Iran’s brave women willingly pay the price of freedom. They do not give up their mission of promoting hope and keep encouraging active opposition to the regime even from behind bars. 

Where does this resilience come from? It is derived from their exemplary model who has stood firm and has led this movement. I am referring to my dear sister, Mrs. Rajavi. It is with her ten-point plan that will guarantee democracy and equality, which we all support. The efforts of our sisters in Iran to realize freedom are commendable. Without this fight, true equality will never be realized.