Square Meeting Centre, Rue Mont des Arts, Brussels

13.00-15.30 hrs. Friday 15th September 2023

On 13 September last year, Mahsa Amini was beaten to death by the mullahs’ morality police in Tehran, after failing to comply with the regime’s draconian hijab rules. It sparked a massive insurrection that engulfed the whole country. Tens of millions took to the streets, mainly led by women. The mullahs killed 750 protesters and jailed over 33,000. That is why today, Iranian women are at the forefront of the resistance to the theocratic dictatorship. Indeed, the main democratic opposition movement, the PMOI/MEK is led by a woman, the charismatic Maryam Rajavi. 

Brave women are now routinely joining their brothers to demand regime change and an end to the misogyny and repression which has terrorized the Iranian people for the past four decades. The PMOI controlled and coordinated the uprising, torching IRGC and Basij command posts, destroying regime effigies and banners of Ayatollah Khamenei and pasting up posters of Mrs Rajavi and the PMOI. They hacked into government websites and into main government broadcast channels, with ant-regime and pro-PMOI messages.

The regime has reacted in its usual way with arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions. Indeed, in a frenzy of killings aimed at terrifying the rebellious population, the theocratic regime has hanged 60 people in the past month alone. Iran is now the leading per-capita executioner in the world. But brave Iranian women have risen up in defiance of the fascist theocratic regime. 

In the nationwide uprisings, tens of thousands of courageous female teachers, medical staff, nurses, students, factory workers and pensioners, chanting “Down with the dictator, be it the Shah or the Mullahs”, took to the streets to demand an end to corruption, an end to discrimination and repression and an end to the clerical regime’s aggressive military adventurism across the Middle East. 

Women in Iran have been treated as second-class citizens by the mullahs for more than four decades. Women, particularly young women, are singled out for brutal attacks for the ‘crime’ of mal veiling. Girls who were deemed to be improperly dressed in the street have suffered horrific acid attacks and stabbings, in assaults openly condoned by the mullahs. Teenage girls, arrested for the offence of posting videos of themselves dancing or singing on social media, have been publicly flogged. 

Young female students attending end-of-term parties have been fined and beaten. This is what gender equality looks like in Iran today. At a time when women in the West have achieved political, economic, personal and social equality, Iranian women are amongst the most repressed in the world, ruled by a regime dominated by elderly, bearded misogynists. 

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the first Supreme Leader of Iran after the 1979 revolution and the father of Islamic fascist fundamentalism, stated that equality between women and men was “in fundamental violation of some of the most crucial rulings of Islam and in defiance of some of the explicit commandments of the Quran”. Following the revolution, he used this wicked deception to abolish the ‘Family Protection Law’ that gave women family rights. He also cancelled social services for women and abolished the role of female judges in Iran’s justice system. Today, only a tiny minority of MPs in Iran are women. The regime’s ruthless misogyny has driven women into the ranks of the opposition PMOI.

Now the medieval mullahs see the PMOI as the greatest threat to the continuation of their venally corrupt and vicious regime with good reason. 

Over the past 40 years, the PMOI has been the first and only serious opposition movement calling for the entire theocracy's overthrow and advocating for regime change at the hands of the Iranian people themselves. They have stood as a testament to the power of unity, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of those who seek to liberate a nation shackled by oppressive rule. 

This summer, over 3,600 parliamentarians signed statements of endorsement for the protests in Iran and for Mrs Rajavi’s 10-point plan for Iran’s future, built upon the pillars of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, within a secular and democratic republic. 124 former world leaders, presidents, prime ministers, heads of state, European Commission presidents, and even Nobel Peace Prize laureates, declared their support. The mullahs are horrified at this surge of international backing for the PMOI and for Maryam Rajavi. They see the PMOI and its many thousands of Resistance Units expanding across the nation. They know that Iran is a tinderbox waiting to explode again. With the Iranian economy in freefall as a result of decades of corruption, maladministration, and financing proxy wars across the Middle East, the majority of the 85 million Iranian population is now struggling to survive on incomes below the international poverty line. Revolution is in the air. The mullahs are unnerved. 

On the anniversary of this uprising, the PMOI Resistance Units inside the country and the resistance network have issued calls to relaunch the protests. The role of the international community and its support will be crucial for the success of the Iranian pro-democracy movement. Western powers must now blacklist the IRGC and call on the UN and the International Courts of Justice to indict the current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the President - Ebrahim Raisi and their cohorts, and to hold them accountable for crimes against humanity and human rights abuse. They must face trial in the Hague. The turbaned tyrants’ days are numbered.