Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), gave an impassioned speech at the headquarters of the main opposition group People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK) in Ashraf 3, Albania, earlier this year in support of women’s progress in the resistance movement.
In our last piece, we focused on the key discriminations and inequalities against women, which Maryam Rajavi had gone through in her speech. Here, we will talk about Iranian women’s widespread participation in the struggle against the two dictatorships.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Let me add that they have always been at the forefront of the struggle since the outset of the mullahs’ theocratic rule, and more significantly, they have been the trailblazers and leaders of this struggle.
Those days, women faced more difficulties than men in joining the democratic struggle.”
She explained that young Muslim women faced huge problems in resisting the regime before the founding of the PMOI (MEK) because there was no precedent for female activists in Iran. The MEK broke a glass ceiling in that regard. Many more women joined the struggle against Regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1980s, seeking “wanted freedom, equality, and a democratic Islam”.
Maryam Rajavi explained that the regime continued imposing restrictions and applying huge pressure on women to deprive them of their rights, but the leading role of MEK women did not abate.
Maryam Rajavi said: “These days, you have seen an exhibition [at Ashraf 3] that displays parts of the history of the Iranian people’s resistance over the past 40 years. It reminds us of the tortuous and blood-soaked path paved by women of the Iranian Resistance. You saw the images showing cages where prisoners were detained. Some of the women held in these cages for a long time, are now sitting here among you. You have seen images of the torture chambers called the residential units, where female prisoners were sadistically mistreated and harassed 24 hours a day. You can see the survivors of the 1988 massacre.”
Maryam Rajavi said that much has been written about the struggle of Iranian women against the Regime and their sorrowful times in the mullahs’ torture chambers, where tens of thousands of women tortured and executed, ranging from teenage girls like 13-year-old Fatemeh Mesbah to elderly women like 70-year-old Mother Zakeri. But their stories remain largely unknown by the rest of the world. Their enduring resistance against the interrogators and the Revolutionary Guards, in spite of torture, and their rejoining of the MEK show their perseverance and strength.
Maryam Rajavi said: “These women have proven their capabilities in the military field as well. Another chapter of this struggle was overcoming the hardships and complexities related to the presence of women in the ranks of an army fighting the enemy, the formation of combat units, being trained and assuming the command, fighting against all obstacles in camps Ashraf and Liberty and continuing to resist for 14 years.”
This shows that the women following Maryam Rajavi cannot be kept down.
In our next piece, we will look at the MEK’s promises to Iranian women.