Young women at the forefront attest to the progressive nature of Iran protests
On the anniversary of the November 2019 uprising, members of the Iranian Resistance at Ashraf 3 held a memorial ceremony. From November to November, the gathering paid tribute to the victims of the November 2019 uprising and the ongoing uprising in Iran in October and November 2022.
The NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi spoke to the gathering. Experts of her remarks concerning the role and rights of Iranian women follows:
Selfless fathers and mothers, symbols of the uprising’s power
The parents of the martyrs have carried their torch and embody the power of this uprising.
The mother of Siavash Mahmoudi said, “I’ve been told to keep silent, but I will not keep quiet. I say with pride that he was the renowned Siavash (a mythical figure) of Iran.”
The father of 16-year-old Kumar Daroftadeh from Piranshahr said, “Kumar is not my son. He is the son of all the oppressed people.”
And addressing her daughter, the mother of Nika Shakarami said, “My beloved, I am happy and grateful to see that your martyrdom planted the seeds of thought, freedom, courage, and honor in the hearts of others.”
And the mother of Rezaee family, who was tortured by the Shah’s SAVAK, imprisoned for three years and has lost eight members of her family in the struggle against two dictatorships, has been multiplied in a long line of mothers who turn the grief and pain of losing their fallen children into the power of perseverance. Their fiery remarks inspire thousands of girls and boys who are mesmerized by the martyrs’ course of action.
Women, the voice of the oppressed
This is the magnificent visage of a movement whose fabric is made of the most delicate human emotions, the most selfless battles, and the most genuine desires for a free Iran.
The courageous daughters of Iran who are at the forefront of this struggle are the best witnesses to the progressive and emancipating nature of the uprising.
Look at the line of martyrs: Mahsa, Ghazaleh, Hadis, Hannaneh, Hediyeh, Sarina, Aynaz, Negin, Nadia, Asra, Parisa, Mona, Arnika, Kobra, Fereshteh, and Nasrin: This is a fresh blood running in the veins of our nation to uproot misogyny, discrimination, retrogression, and religious tyranny.
When the mullahs executed the 13-year-old Fatemeh Mesbah and teenagers supporting the PMOI, like Maryam Qodsi Moab, and when they killed courageous young women like Saba, Asiyeh, Nastaran, and Mahdiyeh in their criminal attack on Camp Ashraf, Iraq, they never imagined that an endless line of stars would follow in their footsteps who will end their rule.
You certainly recall that nearly 30 years ago, in August 1993, when we introduced 24 competent PMOI women as members and candidates of the first group of the PMOI Leadership Council, I said this was a line that would extend to Tehran, to the future that will make the future.
In June 1995, at the gathering of our compatriots in Dortmund, Germany, I told the mullahs, “You have done everything you could, inflicting every act of savagery, misogyny, and oppression on Iranian women. Beware of the day when this enormous historical force is unleashed… Then, you will see that these fighting women will burn down your regressive dynasty. And there is no doubt that the liberated women of Iran will sweep you away from the face of history.”
And in the gathering at London’s Earls Court, in June 1996, I made a speech entitled, “Women, the Voice of Oppressed.” My message was: “Women are the first victims of oppression in history. In addition to political, economic, and social oppression, they have to pay for the sin of being a woman. If women make up half of the population on Earth, then gender discrimination and the culture based on it have an immediate impact on the other half, namely, on men. It enchains men, stripping them of their human identity. Therefore, the absolute and ultimate freedom of individuals and humane society is tied to the freedom of oppressed women.
“In the tragedy of women in our enchained homeland, Iran, women’s human identity has been denied. But know that those oppressed today will be tomorrow’s victors.”
1,000 women in the PMOI Central Council
Eighteen years later, in 2014, the PMOI formed its Central Council, comprised of 1,000 women who had overcome demanding trials and tribulations in Ashraf and Liberty and seven lethal attacks by Khamenei, Qassem Soleimani, and their mercenaries in Iraq.
Yes, three decades ago, in the early 90s, it was incredible and inconceivable to speak about women’s hegemony in the PMOI. At the time, no one and no entity would even talk about women’s hegemony, let alone the regime, which banned the formation of a nominal women’s commission in its parliament and changed its name to the family commission.
Today, however, we can see the brilliance of these vanguard women throughout Iran.
Of course, this is just the beginning. We tell the clerical regime to wait and see the outcome when a democratic revolution and republic dawn in Iran.
Women make up 57% of NCRI members
Women also constitute 57 percent of members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). There was never any issue in the NCRI over women’s choice of clothing and veil. From the outset, the NCRI has emphasized upon women’s rights and freedoms, including their freedom of choice regarding their attire.
It is common knowledge that in March 1979 in Tehran, when Khomeini’s club wielders attacked women not wearing the scarf, our sisters and brothers rushed to protect and support them. They held their hands together and surrounded those women to protect them from the thugs who chanted, “Either the veil or a hit on the head.”
This was one of the reasons Khomeini dubbed the PMOI hypocrites. Still, they struggle with this contradiction in their reactionary and ahistorical outlook. They do not understand how someone in the people’s united front can defend the freedoms and rights of others who do not think like them.
Students spearhead today’s revolutionary movement
The Iran uprising is making a two-pronged advance. The first is to overthrow the clerical regime, and the second is to build a bright future for Iran based on freedom. In this way, in every stride, the uprising lays bare its emancipating character. The roadmap to a free democratic future in Iran will bear fruit and speaks of a democratic revolution that is expanding and spreading.
Indeed, it is a dynamic movement that has turned the most beautiful, long-lasting dreams into the most potent political demands. There is a new determination at work driven by women and youths. Their generation has rejected false and treacherous claims of reforms within the regime and cries out the pains of the oppressed.
This generation has rejected the Shah’s oppression of the past and the mullahs’ oppression of the present to build a new future for Iran with a republic based on people’s vote and free elections. In the heart of the universities, this generation has established centers of freedom and revolution and taken back this bastion of freedom from the enemy.
Indeed, Iranian students have kept alight the flames of the uprising in the most prestigious universities across Iran and have shown up in their genuine role as vanguards of the revolutionary movement and the determined followers of the martyrs. As they sang: The eternal sun of freedom is the light of our sky.
Self-defense, women’s unalienable right
Indeed, this uprising has turned the cries of oppressed Iranian women into a voice for freedom and revolution by way of its leadership, sacrifice, and extraordinary fighting spirit during the nationwide rebellion.
Iranian women are trailblazers of freedom and democracy in the face of religious, political, and social coercion. They are determined to overthrow the ogre of compulsion and misogyny.
I salute all the freedom-loving women of Iran and my sisters and daughters, who laid down their lives in this uprising and emancipating revolution. I stress that resistance, self-defense in the struggle for freedom, and to overthrow this misogynistic regime are the inalienable rights of Iranian women.
Freedom of attire is the Iranian women’s right
In my capacity in the NCRI, and as a Muslim woman, I repeat, “No to the compulsory veil, no to compulsory religion, and no to a compulsory government.”
We salute all the women who have struggled, suffered, and offered tens of thousands of martyrs on the path to freedom over the past 44 years. They have learned to engage in battle with everything they have to pluck their rights and those of all Iranian people from of the mullahs’ throats.
A bitter fate awaits the mullahs, as they have no other option in the face of this powerful force that will uproot them. The time has now come for freedom-loving and arisen women of Iran who can and must defeat religious fascism.
Through her leadership and with her responsibility, women guarantee freedom, democracy, and equality in tomorrow’s Iran.
Such a development marks a genuine change of season in Iran’s democratic movement, which in contrast to the bitter past experiences will never return to the winter of the Shah and the mullahs. Instead, it will herald a new spring of freedom and people’s sovereignty in Iran.
As Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian Resistance, said, “The cowardly enemy is struggling at an impasse and in desperation. If it does not crack down, the uprising and the revolution will surge. And if it resorts to maximum repression, fire will be responded to by fire at which point the theocracy will be uprooted.”
Mullahs only understand the language of force and firmness
An Iran liberated from the mullahs’ occupation will be built on the nation’s 44-year suffering. The dreams drenched in blood, and buried in the unmarked graves of massacred victims, will come to life in a democratic republic with gender equality, the separation of religion and state, and the autonomy of Iran’s oppressed nationalities.
I salute all exiled Iranians who have risen up in support of the Iranian people’s uprising and their desire to overthrow the clerical regime.
I urge Iranians all over the world to encourage the people and governments of their respective countries to recognize the right of the Iranian people and youths to overthrow the ruling religious fascism and to obtain freedom. They must sever all relations with and assistance to the clerical regime because the mullahs only understand the language of force and firmness.
They must refer the dossier of the clerical regime’s human rights violations to the UN Security Council and the Special International Tribunal, including the atrocious murder of more than 50 children and teenagers by Khamenei’s IRGC and the massacre of political prisoners in Iran.
The gatherings outside Evin Prison in Tehran and sit-ins of our compatriots in European countries to defend the lives of political prisoners in Evin have sounded the alarms. The lives of prisoners are in danger, and the United Nations must take urgent action to visit the regime’s prisons.
The regime’s embassies must be shut down; the operatives of the Intelligence Ministry and the terrorist Qods Force mercenaries must be expelled, and their passports revoked. As we have repeatedly said for four decades, Iran’s seat at the United Nations belongs to the Iranian people and Resistance.
Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) must be blacklisted and disbanded.
In unison with Iranian youths across Iran, we say to Khamenei, the IRGC and Bassij thugs, and their plainclothes agents, “Fear us because we are all together.”