Speech at the Free Iran World Summit 2023 – July 2, 2023
Alona Shkrum, a lawyer and member of the Parliament of Ukraine, participated in the NCRI’s Free Iran World Summit 2023 in Auvers-sur-Oise, north of Paris. She delivered a speech on Day 2 of the summit declaring the solidarity of Ukrainian women with the women of Iran.
Following is the text of her speech:
Thank you so much. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, dear, dear friends, thank you so much for having us here. This night, when we were already here in Paris at 2.30 a.m. in the morning, eight Iranian drones, Shahed, were sent by Russians and hit Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. And they damaged three private houses just near where I live in Kiev and injured one man.
And this is what we call a very good and calm night because it was only eight of them. Ukrainians didn’t know much about Iran. I’m so sorry to say that. And we didn’t understand why Iranian drones are on top of all the houses, big black ones, and are trying to bomb us. We did not understand why. We did not understand why the regime is giving those drones to Russia to kill us.
The Iranian Drone Threat
Just in May 2023, more than 300 Shahed, Iranian drones, came to Ukraine to kill Ukrainians. And this is the same month of May when Iran carried out more than 140 executions in Iran. Just think about it, 140 executions. As I understand, it is the biggest number of death executions carried out by the regime since 2015. And this is horrifying for me. During the war that is going on in Ukraine, the invasion by Russia, more than 1,000 drones were used.
And we said a lot that Iranian regime threatens its own people and kills its own people, that it kills people in Middle East, but it kills people also all over the world because Ukraine is more than 3,000 kilometers from Iran.
And Iran bombs churches, schools, kindergartens, hospitals with their drones, and even the centers of humanitarian aid where people come for help.
As President Zelensky has said, when an Iranian drone killed a pregnant Ukrainian girl in her own house at night, we know that it is done by Russians, but it is also done by Iranian regime who sends those drones to kill us.
Shared Values, Shared Victory
Five months ago, my parents were staying in their small house near the capital of Ukraine in the rural area, and they have seen a black Iranian drone on top of their heads, and there was nothing I could do, there was nothing they could do, they could only hide.
And unfortunately, Ukrainians know too well that this is happening 3,000 kilometers away from Iran because terrorist and dictatorship regime knows no borders, and knows no distance, and knows no mercy.
And they must be stopped by all of us, by all the efforts of all of international community, because they threaten everybody. Ukrainians know very well that appeasement never works for terrorist and dictatorship regimes. Only weakness, our weakness provokes more evil, and provokes more tyranny, and provokes more violence. And unfortunately, a lot of us knows a lot of examples of that.
The appeasement never worked with Hitler during the Second World War, it did not work with Putin, it is not working with the Iranian regime and will not work. Ukrainians remember all the times the words said by Churchill, that appeasers are the ones who feed the crocodile and really hope that the crocodile will eat them last, but the crocodile always eats everyone if not stopped. I speak here, and I’m much honored to do that, on behalf of tens of millions of Ukrainians who stand for free and democratic Iran.
Standing in Solidarity: Ukrainians Inspired by Iranian Women
And also, I am allowed to speak on behalf of Ukrainian girls and women who are incredibly inspired by Iranian women in your fight. You are such an inspiration to us. Keep on fighting, keep on fighting for freedom. We follow you, we stand with you, and we will do whatever it takes to help you.
I am horrified on how our history is so tragically common in this fight for freedom and democracy and basic human rights.
Iranian regime is using right now rubber bullets to hit the eyes of protesters and to make them blind. And this is something that was going on in Ukraine in 2013, when our pro-Russian dictatorship regime at the time in 2013 hit by rubber bullets the eyes of protesters. And my big friend, the son of my godmother in Kiev, actually lost his right eye because of a rubber bullet.
And I know that there are thousands of cases like this in Iran, and it completely shocks me. So we have the common history. But after that in 2014, our revolution of dignity started. And it was our fight for freedom. It was our way to say no to the dictatorship. And we had a free election. And this is where it started for us.
And I know that this is what is starting for you right now. And your fight for freedom is on the way. And it is going on for too long. That’s why you need to win fast and you need to win for good for everybody, for all of us.
Sanctions and Accountability
The last thing I’m going to say is that Ukraine has already introduced sanctions on Iran. But I know that we can do more. And I will be coming back to Kiev, to my parliament with very, very concrete tasks from a lot of you. We will fight for more sanctions because we believe that the population of Iran deserves to live in a free society, in a free democratic country.
And there should be sanctions around the regime. I am an international lawyer, and I do believe very strongly that there should be accountability for the crimes being carried out by Iranian regime. And this accountability should be there. We share common values of freedom. And I know that those values cannot be stopped. They cannot be repressed. They cannot be killed.
They are just growing and they are just attracting more people and they are growing, you know, in a good sense all over the world. I know that Ukraine will win this war and I’m sure I know that Iran will win and democratic Iran will be a prosperous and free country. We stand with you. Thank you.