News : Women
- Published: Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Earlier this year, at the Free Iran conference in Ashraf 3, Albania, home to some 3,000 members of the main Iranian opposition group the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin- Khalq or MEK). Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) gave an impassioned speech about the role of women in creating a free Iran. Here, we will examine her focus on the role of women in the fight against two dictatorships.
Maryam Rajavi explained that women were always leading the resistance against the mullahs’ regime, even though they faced more problems joining the democratic struggle.
One of the biggest problems was that there was no real precedent for Muslim women in a struggle against a dictatorship until the MEK broke that glass ceiling. Then thousands of women flocked to join the MEK’s struggle against the mullahs to obtain a free, equal, and democratic Iran.
The Regime, terrified over how women could change the course of the resistance movement and overthrow the mullahs began to impose more restrictions on women and deprive them of their rights. Despite this, MEK women have played a leading role in the resistance and will not back down.
During her speech Maryam Rajavi noted that the exhibition at Ashraf 3 about the history of the resistance, reminds us of the path paved by women of the Iranian Resistance, specifically highlighting the cages where some female political prisoners in the audience had been detained for a long time under the mullahs.
Maryam Rajavi said: “Many books have been written about these women’s struggle and resistance in the mullahs’ torture chambers, about some of the tens of thousands of women, tortured and executed over the past 40 years, from Fatemeh Mesbah, only 13, to Mother Zakeri, 70. Nevertheless, the story of these women’s resistance remains an untold story. The story of enduring vicious torture, resisting the barbaric actions of interrogators and the Revolutionary Guards, the resistance to preserve collective fighting spirit in prison, making the effort to rejoin the MEK, and the attempt to form new resistance cells are all part of the epic perseverance of these women.”
Maryam Rajavi explained that the MEK women also proved their capabilities in the military, notably “fighting against all obstacles in camps Ashraf and Liberty and continuing to resist for 14 years”.
She advised that the 1,000 pioneering women in Ashraf 3 left many different cities of Iran and the West, giving up careers and families to fight for the freedom of the Iranian people.
It is no wonder that they joined the MEK, as in 1979 the MEK issued a 15-point declaration of expectations from the new regime, which specifically included the need “to respect full political and social rights of women”. When Massoud ran for president in 1980, he offered a ten-point plan that emphasized gender equality and other articles supported by women, including:
- the rights of ethnic groups
- freedom of parties
- freedom of opinion
- freedom of the press
- equality of Shiites and Sunnis
In our next piece, we will look at one of the most important chapters in the struggle for freedom in Iran.
- Maryam Rajavi on the Role of Women in the MEK: Part 2
- Next:Deprivation of Iranian Women From Employment