Earlier this year, at the Free Iran conference in Ashraf 3. Albania, Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian opposition, Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) gave an impassioned speech about the role of women in creating a free Iran. Here, we will examine her speech.
Maryam Rajavi began by saying that anytime women come together to discuss a mission for freedom and equality, and emancipation of society is a day for women, but that this was even truer for the women of Iran who are resisting a “fundamentalist and reactionary regime, whose most distinctive feature is misogyny”.
Maryam Rajavi explained that before the mullahs seized power in 1979, Iranian women participated in uprisings in great numbers, specifically during the anti-monarchic revolution where pioneering women, like Fatemeh Amini (MEK first woman martyr), Marzieh Uskowi, Azam Rouhi Ahangaran, and Ashraf Rajavi, made great sacrifices to bring about the revolution. However, the misogynous mullahs held Iranian women back after they took power.
Maryam Rajavi said: “I remember those days quite well. It seemed like a showdown between two opposing forces. The mullahs’ enmity against women, and the latter’s disdain for, and distrust in the new regime started on the very day [Ruhollah] Khomeini took power. As soon as the mullahs hijacked the revolution, they began their clampdown on women with the motto of “either the veil or a hit on the head”. At the same time, women also started their resistance against this regime, which has continued to this day.”
Maryam Rajavi explained that she wanted to focus on the status of Iranian women from several angles. She said that women have no role in the ruling regime or its decision making, but that they are deprived of their personal and social freedoms, including personal choice in many fields.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Women have been deprived of their rights to travel, marry and have a private life, choose their occupation, and the most pervasive of all, their free choice of clothing.”
Maryam Rajavi further explained that there are hideous inequalities under the Regime that harm women, such as inequalities in job opportunities, in wages, in families, in education, in testimony before a court, in having access to medical services and insurance, in their share of inheritance, in access to sports fields and stadiums, and much more.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Such discrimination in any society, at any juncture in history, would mean subjugation of the people, suppression, plundering, and deprivation of political rights.”
Maryam Rajavi also discussed the issue of promoting violence against women, which means that Iranian women do not feel safe anywhere, largely due to how the regime treats women, with patrols dedicated to the subjection of women.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Inhumane treatment of women in prisons is common practice… A deeper look into the reason for the mullahs’ savagery towards women reveals that misogyny is the driving force and the essence of the regime’s suppression of the society in general.”
In our next piece, we will look at what Maryam Rajavi has to say about the rampant poverty in Iran that mainly affects women.