As part of an early celebration of International Women’s Day, a cross party of MPs came together to highlight the systemic discrimination and marginalization of women in Iran during a conference on February 28. Multiple MPs spoke out against not only the discrimination, but also the lack of rights and privileges for women within Iran.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is being held prisoner in Iran on made-up charges under appalling conditions, is a British citizen and resident of Hampstead. “The way this British mother is being treated in the Iranian prison system is inhumane and totally unacceptable. The government must step up its pressure on the Iranian authorities for her immediate release so that she and her daughter can be reunited with their family in West Hampstead,” said Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.
The conference also included solicitors, activists and members of the Anglo-Iranian Community. All called on the British government pressure Iranian authorities to eliminate discrimination in all its forms, as well as comply with the international community in the latest UN resolution on human rights in Iran.
“The mullahs’ aggressions in the Middle East and its nuclear and missile programmes have drawn much attention. However, we must highlight these vital realities in Iran; A deep political and social crisis, a society ready for change, and an organized movement in which women have an important role,” said Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Women of Iran have not had it easy under the current Iranian president. In fact, over 70 women have been executed since Rouhani took office. Additionally, there are at least three confirmed cases of women being sentenced to death by stoning.
“Women in the Iranian resistance have challenged the misogynist regime on all fronts…They played a crucial role to lead our movement to become a serious and strong alternative against the godfather of Islamic extremism and terrorism,” said Safora Sadidid of the NCRI’s Women’s Committee.
But delegates were also critical of the international stance of “appeasement”, calling it responsible for many of the crimes against women in Iran and the spread of Iran’s extremism and terrorism throughout the region.
“Appeasing the religious dictatorship ruling Iran with their brutal ‘Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that is responsible for the execution of tens of thousands of women in Iran…proved counterproductive. The world leaders must start firmness and make this regime accountable for its crimes,” said Dowlat Nowrouszi, the NCRI UK representative. “It is time to evict IRGC terror forces from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the rest of the Middle East and impose punitive sanctions against them.”
Professor Lord Alton of Liverpool, reiterated that current international policy with Iran was not going to be effective. “Our efforts to confront and degrade Islamic extremism in the Middle East cannot only rely on a military solution. Our best allies are the moderate forces,…which our government should support to establish their 10-point democratic platform that offers a clear road-map for a free and democratic Iran.”