Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers
Member of Parliament and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Text of remarks at Free Iran – The Alternative, gathering
Villepinte, Paris – June 30, 2018
I am so grateful to be able to address this gathering for a second year in a row to support the cause of a free and democratic future for Iran. I am proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with so many representatives from around the world who have gathered here to show support for the Iranian people and their struggle for justice and for freedom. Many speakers today have paid tribute to those who have come out on the streets of Tehran and other cities over the last few months to protest.
I want specially to highlight the Iranian women who are risking so much to be part of the movement which is calling for change, reform, and democracy. These are women who bravely stand in the face of repressive security forces and chant “down with the dictator.” I have huge admiration for their courage and their determination.
These women are brave enough to protest and stand up against the mandatory dress code imposed on them by the regime. They are brave enough to challenge the legal system which treats them as property and not people. And they are brave enough to stand up against all of the oppression of human rights to which they are subject. They are prepared to stand up for their right to equality and dignity even if this could lead to harassment and the risk of reprisals from a brutal regime.
In the United Kingdom, this year we are celebrating 100 years since legislation was passed to give women the vote for the first time. So, I feel it is fitting for me to stand before you and share your appeal for freedom for women in Iran.
Let us all hope that one day Mrs. Rajavi is able to put into effect her ten-point plan, and finally we will see an Iran which is free of the brutal repression of the mullahs, free of the quality of human rights abuse which is being subjected for far too long. And free at last to pursue a democratic future where men and women have an equal chance to follow their dreams, make their own choices and succeed in whichever field of life they want to. Thank you.