World’s women support Iranian women’s struggle for freedom as was expressed in the annual grand gathering of the Iranian Resistance held in Paris on Friday, June 30, 2018.
The “Free Iran” gathering featured top politicians and rights advocates including a large number of women dignitaries and women’s rights advocates, from around the world.
The rally was marked by the enthusiastic and active participation of over 100,000 supporters of the Iranian Resistance.
The keynote speaker of the event was Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Various delegations presented Mrs. Rajavi with declarations of support or plaques to show support for her leadership of the Iranian opposition and her Ten-point Plan for future Iran.
One of the most inspiring features of the rally was the five video reports on the activities by Iranian women and youth and PMOI/MEK supporters in Tehran and other Iranian cities, declaring solidarity with the Free Iran gathering and wishing luck for its success.
Gender equality in post-mullahs’ Iran
In her address to the gathering, Maryam Rajavi pointed out, “For the past six months, the Iranian people, all nationalities and ethnicities, have waged an uprising despite maximum suppression. A passionate generation thirsty for freedom has risen to take over the entire country and take back Iran from the occupiers, the mullahs. The regime’s overthrow is inevitable. Victory is certain and Iran will be free.”
Maryam Rajavi once again reiterated the main goals of the Iranian Resistance’s platform for future Iran, her Ten-point Plan, and said, “We call for the establishment of a society, based on freedom, democracy, and equality. We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, and assembly; freedom of unions, associations, councils and syndicates. We espouse a non-nuclear Iran that will promote peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, and welcomes regional and international cooperation.”
Prominent women among guests and speakers to the rally
World’s women support Iranian women’s struggle for freedom as it was demonstrated by the large number of prominent women politicians and rights activists who came to the Free Iran gathering of the Iranian Resistance.
The prominent women who addressed the rally included Rama Yade former Minister of Human Rights of France; the Rt Hon. Theresa Villiers, MP from UK and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian Senator and presidential candidate; Frances Townsend, former assistant to the US President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism; Anna Fotyga, former Foreign Minister of Poland and Member of the European Parliament; Theresa Giminez Barbat, MEP from Spain; Michele de Vaucouleurs, member of the National Assembly of France and chair of the parliamentary Committee for A Democratic Iran; Nejat al-Astal, Member of Parliament from Palestine; Valentina Leskaj, former Deputy Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, and former Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Ranjana Kumari, Director of the Center for Social Research NGO from India, Chair of Women Power Connect, member of Facebook's International Safety Advisory Board, and member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council; Maria Candida Almeida, Deputy Attorney General and former Attorney General of Portugal; Maria Elena Elverdin, President of the International Federation of Women in Legal Career (FIFCJ) from Argentina; Cristina Iurisniti, MP from Romania, chair of the parliamentary Committee for Equality of Men and Women; Najima Thay Thay, former Minister of Education from Morocco; and Zinat Mir-Hashemi, Member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The participants included prominent dignitaries such as Marit Nybakk, former First Vice-President of the Norwegian Parliament (the Storting); Baroness Sandip Verma, member of the UK House of Lords, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development and Energy, and Ministerial Champion for tackling Violence Against Women & Girls Overseas; Baroness Smith, Baroness Liz Redfern, and Lady Kanwaljit Singh, members of the UK House of Lords; Senator Marie Louise O'donnell from Ireland; Linda Chavez, former White House Director of Public Liaison and Chair of the Center for Equal Opportunity; Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, member of the Swiss Federal Parliament; Anissa Boumedienne, former First Lady of Algeria and expert on Islam; Judge Hanadi Abou Arab, Vice-President of the Syrian high negotiations team, former President of the Criminal Court of Damascus; Suheir Atassi, member of the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian opposition; Candice Bergen and Judy Sgro, members of Parliament from Canada; Dr. Meredith Burgmann, former President of the Australian Senate; Gianna Gancia, MP from Italy; Elisabetta Zamparutti, human rights activist and former member of the Italian Parliament; Marica Montemaggi, MP from San Marino; Eva Duran Ramos, former Member of Parliament from Spain and President of INCO Human Rights; Margarita Duran Vadell, former Member of the Spanish Senate and Vice-President of INCO Human Rights; Eglantina Gjermeni, MP from Albania and former Urban Development Minister; Rudina Hajdari, MP from Albania; Diana Culi, former MP from Albania, author and film producer; Sevim Arbana, founder of the Association of Useful for Albania Women; Naima Farrah, advisor to the Minister of Culture from Morocco; Olfa Jouini, MP from Tunisia; Amal Osman, former Minister and VP of the Editorial Board of Akhbar al-Yawm from Egypt; Maria Grecea, former member of parliament from Romania; Bozena Kaminska, MP from Poland; Dr. Maria Ryan, President and CEO of Cottage Hospital, Woodsville, New Hampshire, U.S.; and Munizae Jahangir, journalist and daughter of the late Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ms. Asma Jahangir.
Delegation of women dignitaries, women’s rights advocates
A climax moment of the event was when the delegation of women dignitaries and women’s rights advocates went on the stage to show that world’s women support Iranian women’s struggle for freedom. Four prominent women represented the delegation.
Calling Mrs. Rajavi as “the famous woman of hope and courage for liberty and freedom,” Valentina Leskaj announced that the delegation had signed “a joint statement by dignitaries and women's rights advocates.”
Citing the statement, she said, “The women of Iran are resolved to turn the page of their country's history in the 21st century, and they deserve the support of all freedom-loving people of the world.”
Then Ranjana Kumari read out the statement to the rally. The statement read in part, “The brave revolt of Iranian women against the regime is not to demand anything from this misogynistic regime; it is for ending the theocratic dictatorship in its entirety and establish democracy and freedom. Women are indeed the force for change in Iran. We support and celebrate the courageous women in Iran.”
Maria Candida Almeida declared, “All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, particularly all female arrestees and those who are presently detained under torture must be released, immediately.”
Maria Elena Elverdin said, “We support the fearless efforts of Iranian women and Iranian Resistance to establish freedom and equality. We commend the relentless and visionary leadership of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as the alternative for Iran. We also support Maryam Rajavi's Ten-Point Plan for Women's Rights in tomorrow's Iran.”
The delegation then invited Mrs. Rajavi on the stage and presented her a plaque bearing the names and support of women NGOs.
Mrs. Rajavi thanked the delegation calling their support as being “very precious” and a “very serious contribution.” She added, “Thank you for all your efforts in supporting the Iranian women and the Iranian Resistance, and now, supporting the uprising in Iran. I'm sure that one day, after the mullahs, the Iranian people can invite you to Tehran to a big celebration because a free Iran is not only necessary for the Iranian people, it is also necessary for the people in the Middle East and for peace and security in the world.”
Other speeches by women dignitaries
Below are excerpts of speeches by other women who addressed the gathering and showed that world’s women support Iranian women’s struggle for freedom.
Theresa Villiers: 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.
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.
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.
Frances Townsend: History tells us that women have led this resistance and at all levels of the NCRI, women have led this movement and we see that continuing today in the streets of Tehran where women are refusing the mullahs' directive to wear the veil despite being hurt. They are taking off the veil, they are defying the mullahs, and they continue to need your support to do that. Women will continue to lead this movement and it is among the greatest threats to the current regime.
Rama Yade: The women of Iran have taken the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention. For six months, the cries of freedom are the sign of the upcoming spring in Iran. We are feeling a wind of protest in Iran and the Iranian women have launched a new dimension. I know that change will not come from outside. It will come from the Iranian people, because Iran belongs to them.”
Ingrid Betancourt: Since last December 28, we are witnessing how Maryam Rajavi has been delivering what she promised.
To the thousands and thousands of women leading the protests, to the mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters of the martyrs of the 1988 massacre, to the young people of Iran throwing stones, burning the dictator's portraits, attacking the stronghold of the corrupt regime of the mullahs, to the 80 millions of Iranians held hostage by the Iranian tyrants, we are with you in every step.
We are with you inch by inch in the path to democracy; we are with you in every heartbeat, in every cry, in every tear, in every wound, with you until you are finally free.
Michele de Vaucouleurs: We hope to see real democracy in Iran with respect for separation of the church and state. That is why we support Mrs. Maryam Rajavi... I pay respect to the women who defy the regime and struggle for freedom and have the strength to oppose those in power.
Anna Elzbieta Fotyga: Invincible people of a free Iran, I really support you and your great leader Maryam Rajavi. We, in the European Parliament, admire her effort to bring justice, prosperity and most of all, freedom to her own people. We stand by you in supporting truth and bringing those who are responsible for massacres in Iran to justice.
We support the ordinary people of Iran who live in your beautiful country in the most difficult circumstances. We admire their courage and resolve to make their country free. We stand by you in the European Parliament.
Zinat Mir-Hashemi: The Iranian people’s uprising has reached a new level. Women, youth, workers, employees, teachers and students are in the frontline of this uprising in Iran.
The people of Iran have believed in their own powers and they believe that they can change their own destiny with their own hands.
The people of Iran have sent their message to the world. They have paid a heavy price to get rid of this regime.
The People’s Fedayeen of Iran hope to see this gathering held next year in a free Iran. As Maryam Rajavi said, victory is on its way. We are the innumerable and united to topple the religious tyranny of the mullahs.
Nejat al-Astal: My dear sister Maryam Rajavi and the Iran opposition, may God save you. I salute you. I appreciate your struggle to fight for human rights and women's rights in Iran. We stand with you.
The Iranian regime meddles in the Palestinian situation in a very negative way, in addition to the threat it poses to other Arab countries and their national sovereignty and that is one of the reasons that we cannot get peace in the region.
Najima Thay Thay: For ten years I have been supporting you. I see happiness in your eyes. I can tell that the next gathering will be in Iran. The dictatorship of the mullahs has reached the limits. The people of Iran, from all ages and all religions and nationalities are on the streets.
They have no guns, no tanks, no nuclear weapons, but they are in the streets. They will triumph. We are with you and we support you.