Virtual conference marks International Women’s Day by lauding brave women of Iran.
The Iranian Resistance marked International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, by an international virtual conference connecting Ashraf 3 online with 1,500 locations in 34 countries. The event entitled, “Iranian women rise up for freedom and equality,” was sponsored by the NCRI Women’s Committee, the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran, and the British Committee for Iran Freedom.
The conference featured Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as well as dozens of European parliamentarians, members of the British Parliament and advocates of women’s rights.
The speakers made remarks lauding brave women of Iran and their struggle for freedom and equality, the Iranian people’s uprisings, and Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten Point Plan for tomorrow’s Iran. Following is the list of speakers and excerpts from some of their remarks:
Sarvnaz Chitsaz, Chair of the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran;
Today, I would like to talk about Iranian women’s hope and their tireless efforts for achieving equality and freedom… We know that freedom and equality are the only answers to all the problems that Iranian society faces… On International Women’s Day, I would like to emphasize that there is a movement in the world at the forefront of the struggle for democratic change in Iran. And the woman who is leading this global movement for regime change and establishment of freedom and democracy for the Iranian people is Maryam Rajavi whose name and presence has been political, social, cultural and ideological challenge to the ruling mullahs. She is an inspiration for me and all the women who are resisting the mullahs’ misogynous regime. She is the one who leads a revolution of hope and removes every despair with her miraculous message: We can and we must. Indeed, the freedom of Iranian people will be achieved with such determination.
Baroness Sandy Verma, member of the House of Lords, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for International Development;
I am talking about my sisters in the Iranian Resistance. Those who embody a huge capacity of women shouldering the most difficult tasks and are taking the highest risks to liberate all Iranian women who are suffering from gender apartheid.
For decades, their persistence has sent a clear message to the Iranian regime and the mullahs… Women have chosen to challenge and will not give up until Iran is free…
Under (Maryam Rajavi’s) leadership, women in the Iranian Resistance have not only achieved gender parity, but occupied the leading positions of this most democratic movement.
Baroness Harris of Richmond, former deputy speaker of the House of Lords and Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords;
On this very special, International Women’s day, I send you, Mrs. Rajavi and also all the women in Ashraf 3 my very warmest greetings and I thank you for all that you’re doing for your country in bringing sense, compassion, bravery and humanity into the darkness that is Iran today. We know how appallingly women in Iran are treated and we stand in solidarity with you as you fight the tyranny of the mullahs. You stand at the forefront of the battle for human rights and for a fair, free and democratic country following Madam Rajavi’s ten-point plan, which is a blueprint for freedom.
Baroness Margaret Eaton, conservative member of the House of Lords;
Women took leadership roles to not only fight for their own rights but to lift their nation from the dark depths of a medieval regime… The relation with the regime in Iran must be contingent on improvement of human rights conditions and especially women’s rights. We have to recognize that the NCRI is our ally because peace and stability in the Middle East can only be achieved and maintained when the malign activities of the regime in Iran are stopped.
Advocate of women’s rights, Zamaswazi Dlamini- Mandela, granddaughter of the late Nelson Mandela;
The women of Iran have been subject to extreme atrocities… All major religions believe all people are equal. The Islamic regime sees women as its enemies. My heart weeps for those who have lost their lives… We stand with the women in Iran in their struggle for freedom and equality.
Laura Farris, Conservative Member of the UK House of Commons;
We stand in solidarity with Iranian women, particularly those who have stood at the forefront of protests in the past 40 years. We follow your progress here and stand up for you in parliament and will continue to do so. We commit to make your voices heard.
Lord David Alton of Liverpool, Member of the House of Lords;
We recognize and applaud the many brave Iranian women who are at the forefront of the anti-regime protests in Iran in the last three years and who are leading the organized opposition and resistance that is spearheading the struggle for a free and democratic Iran.
I call on the United Kingdom government and the international community to recognize the NCRI and its democratic platform for a future Iran and to support them as the real expression of the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and to reach out to NCRI President-elect Madam Maryam Rajavi, as a representative of the Iranian people in their desire for change, and working with her for a free and a democratic Iran.
Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Member of the Irish Parliament;
On this day, we stand in solidarity with the brave Iranian women who have been standing at the forefront of the anti-regime protests. We stand in thought and practice with the people of Iran and support their struggle for democracy.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research (India). She has worked as a senior professional at the United Nations and was among the 100 most influential people in gender policy for 2019;
The women of Iran have led a brave struggle for freedom in Iran… We witnessed the courage of women in the November 2019 protests. Even the regime admitted women had a leading role in the protests. Iran’s prisons are packed with political prisoners, including Maryam Akbari Monfared, Fatemeh Mosanna, Parastoo Mo’ini, and many others. We will continue to campaign for their release… I’m confident that it is the women of Iran who will defeat the misogynist regime of Iran.
Dr. Matthew Offord, Conservative Member of the UK House of Commons, and one of the leading members of the British Committee for Iran Freedom;
The UN Human Rights Rapporteur must be allowed to inspect Iran’s prisons and meet with prisoners. Efforts to contain the regime’s nuclear ambitions will not succeed without addressing the regime’s human rights abuses. We must make sure Iran’s people enjoy human rights instead of giving the regime incentives.
Baroness Cox, Crossbench member of the British House of Lords;
I want to take this opportunity to express my solidarity with the women in Iran. I also want to thank Madam Rajavi for her explicit remarks. I’m encouraged to hear of your ten-point plan that is completely in contrast to the mullahs’ regime. Iran, under the theocratic regime, is under a gender apartheid. There should be global support for the grassroots movements in Iran.
Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers, Conservative Member of the British Parliament and former Secretary of State for Ireland, and former Secretary of State for Environment;
This is an opportunity to pay tribute to brave women in Iran and around the world who stand up to misogyny. The regime in Iran has reduced women to second-class citizens. By contrast, Madam Rajavi leads a movement that embraces women’s rights and empowers women to pursue their equal opportunities and shape their country’s future.
The UK and international community must decide which side of history they will stand with. I ask the UK government to put pressure on the regime to release political prisoners, especially the women. The regime fears the empowerment of women.
Sir David Amess, Conservative Member of the British Parliament and Co-Chairman of the British Committee for Iran Freedom;
We believe discrimination exists against women throughout the world. In countries like Iran, it is getting worse. The Iranian regime is creating more concern and worries for the world while the Iranian Resistance movement is creating hope for progress. The regime arrests social and political activists. The conditions of those arrested in uprisings is outrageous.
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales since 2017;
We in Wales must do more to ensure our sisters in Iran are protected. We support all you do and wish you all the best.
Rt. Hon. David Jones, Conservative Member of the British Parliament, former Secretary of State for Wales, and the Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group since March 2020;
We need a new uniform and robust approach to the regime of Iran. To succeed, this policy must include dialog with the NCRI and its President-elect Madam Maryam Rajavi. Iran stands on the brink of change. Western nations must be ready to show their support for a free Iran now, where the role of women is recognized.
Anna Fotyga, Polish MEP , former Polish Foreign Minister, Secretary-General of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament;
Today, I will focus on the courageous women of Iran, leading the struggle for freedom in their country, facing unbelievable atrocities. There were women victims of capital punishment in Iran. There were women peacefully protesting who were unbelievably treated cruelly by the mullahs’ regime… I pay tribute to the excellent work of Madam Rajavi and in the European Parliament, we stand by you.
Amber Rudd, Home Secretary (2016-2018) and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2018-2019);
In Iran it is so much difficult to challenge the regime. Difficult, illegal and above all dangerous. But it is fascinating to see that women in Iran do fight back… Iran will only be free when the women of Iran are free.
Steve McCabe, Labour Member of the British Parliament and a leading member of the British Committee for Iran Freedom;
Bob Blackman, Member of Parliament and Co-president of the International Committee of Parliamentarians for a Democratic Iran;
I express my support for and send my best wishes to the Iranian women, who are shouldering the main responsibility and hard task to bring down one of the most oppressive regimes in history and in our time…
Supporting the Iranian people and the NCRI to free Iran from the grip of this brutal regime is the only long-term sustainable solution to secure and advance human rights, democracy and equality in Iran. This must be the center and ultimate goal of UK’s Policy on Iran. Let us avow ourselves that by this time next year when we celebrate International Women’s Day, we do so in Tehran with a free Iran and women properly emancipated.
Dr. Hoda Badran, Former Egyptian Minister;
Senator Catherine Noone, former Deputy speaker of the Irish Senate;
Anthea McIntyre, former Conservative Member of the European Parliament;
Zinat Mir-Hashemi, member of the Central Committee of the People’s Fedayeen Organization of Iran which is a member organization of the National Council of Resistance of Iran;
Christian Wakeford, Conservative Member of the British Parliament;
Struan Stevenson, former Scottish Member of the European Parliament, president of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Iraq, and the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change;
Young Iranian women are becoming increasingly engaged in the growing opposition to the mullahs’ corrupt regime. They are joining the resistance units that are springing up in every town and city in Iran…
Today, Iranian women are at the forefront of the resistance to the theocratic dictatorship. Indeed, the main Democratic opposition movement the PMOI/MEK, is led by a woman, the charismatic Maryam Rajavi. Brave women are now routinely joining their brothers to demand regime change and an end to the misogyny and repression which has terrorised not only the Iranian people for the past four decades but a vast part of the Middle East as well.
Rt. Hon. Sir Roger Gale, Conservative Member of the British Parliament. He served as the leader of the British Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe until January 2021;
Michelle Mulherin, former Irish Senator;
Sara Khoshkalam, member of the Kurdish Iranian Khebat Organization;
Dr. Rowan William, Former Archbishop of Canterbury and the prominent member of the House of Lords;
It is a very striking fact indeed, that women have been at the forefront of protest and resistance within Iran, especially within the last couple of years and of course beyond its borders… And the fact that women have played so prominent, and so transforming courageous a role in the politics of Iranian society in resistance to tyranny tells its story. It tells a story of repression and discontent, but also of confidence and hope.
Farzaneh Hosseini, President of the Pioneer Women’s Association against Fundamentalism and Discrimination;
Lady Val Corbett, women’s rights advocate;
Helen Williams, women’s rights activist from Wales;
All too often, women and some young juvenile women, are prime for victims of the regime and yet they are in the forefront of the calls for change. The leadership of Maryam Rajavi represents progressive hope for the women of Iran. I am certain that the day will come when the women of Iran are fee, enjoying the same rights as men and are able to represent and lead their country. The UK should support these brave Iranian women so that that day will come sooner rather than later. So we must challenge the regime on women’s rights, call out inequality and resolutely support the Iranian women’s struggle for equality and a free and democratic Iran.
Senator Erin McGreehan, member of the Irish Senate.