Margarita Durán Vadell: Three generations of women paid a high price

Speech by Margarita Durán Vadell, Vice-President of INCO Human Rights and Spanish Senator (2011-2015) from Spain

International Women’s Conference at Ashraf 3 – Albania – July 14, 2019

Two years ago I had the opportunity to meet women who are now in Ashraf 3. It was not long since they had arrived in Albania… It was really, really exciting to meet personally some of the women we had been defending since 2013.

We were thrilled by their stories, their resistance, their faith in a free Iran, and their determination to keep fighting to make that possible.

Two days ago, when I saw them again, I felt the same emotion but also the admiration to see what they had managed to build in these two years. They are, you are, simply admirable; however, maybe nothing of this is known outside the borders of Albania.

Believe me, when I tell you how difficult it is to explain to the public opinion the truth of this movement led by an extraordinary woman.

It’s your struggle for freedom, the price paid by you, by the organization who you are part of, and all those who oppose the regime: jail, torture, death and exile.

And nevertheless, it is interesting for the public opinion to know that this movement is based on absolutely democratic principles, the ten-point plan, that the alternative to the regime is not chaos or foreign intervention, that this is not a movement driven by third countries to simply overthrow the Iranian regime, that this fight is authentic and there are three, maybe four, generations of freedom fighters here to prove it.

But I said that it is difficult for all these to be known by the public opinion because the power of the propaganda of the regime is very, very strong. A propaganda that tries and often manages to conceal their crimes and to silence the voice of the opposition and even criminalize it. This is what it has been doing in recent decades, resorting to lies, threats, arrestments and even violence to silence your voice; because the regime needs to cover its crimes, to cover up their support for international terrorism, to cover up the fact that they pose a threat to the security of not only the region but also of Europe, Africa and America.

They want the rest of the countries, especially the great powers and the European Union, to believe that when they are signing an agreement with Rouhani, they are signing it with a leader as democratic as they are.

They want to be treated as if their crimes did not exist, as if they were trustworthy people. And what do they do when they (are not treated this way)? (They do) what they are doing now, that is resorting to blackmail and threatening with the construction of nuclear weapons if they fail to eliminate sanction of their economy.

And in return what concessions do they make? What guarantees do they give? Reality shows us that they are not willing to give anything in return.

While the agreement has been maintained, executions have increased, the freedom of the opponents of the regime has been (restricted) much more than in the past. No concession to democracy has been made in the country.

So what was the agreement? What motive is there to maintain it?

The struggle of women has been especially hard. The price paid by you, by three generations of women has been very, very high.

In His name, in your name, in the name of women who have never given up, all of us who believe that freedom is the supreme good, we cannot allow your struggle (to be) in vain.

Thank you.