LONDON: Female leaders from across the world have urged the international community to make greater efforts to help the women’s movement in Iran.
Addressing an International Women’s Day conference in Brussels, Germany’s former Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she was “humbled” by the images of women and girls taking to the streets as they “fight against the regime.”
She added: “I ask myself, would I have the power to take to the streets, to let my children go out and fight against the regime?
“This strength, especially in the women in Iran, is a sign of humanism and decisiveness that goes far beyond the borders of Iran.
“You’re an inspiration for the world. The international community must stand up. This is our fight. We must stand by their side.”
Yakin Erturk, former UN special rapporteur on violence against women, said: “I have witnessed first-hand how gendered subordination and misogynist laws and attitudes have been woven into the fiber of the Islamic Republic, which is one of its most distinguishing features.”
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She added: “Gender equality is a global concern, and the struggle of women in Iran is relevant and is the cause of women’s struggle globally.”
Candice Bergen Harris, former leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, warned countries that seek to “appease” the regime that they too have “blood on their hands.”
Belgian MP Kathleen Depoorter said: “The reason I stand here with you, and with all these brave women in Iran who took up the uprising, is that I truly believe in the justice of your cause, of our cause, of the women’s cause.”
For almost six months, Iran has been gripped by protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of the notorious morality police.
Her death unleashed pent-up frustration over living standards and discrimination against women and minorities.
Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the “brave and resilient women” protesting the regime’s brutality have become a “perpetual nightmare” for the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
She added: “A century ago, women fought for the vote. Today, they fight to change the world, from barbarism to freedom, justice, equality.
“A revolution of unprecedented magnitude is underway in Iran, setting a united front against the oppressive and misogynistic regime.”
Rajavi urged the UN to “investigate and respond firmly” to the regime’s violence.
Last week alone, more than 100 students from 30 schools across 10 of Iran’s 31 provinces were admitted to hospitals after reporting breathing difficulties, a fact not lost on Linda Chavez, former White House director of public liaison.
“It isn’t just women who are protesting and are the targets of this regime, it’s schoolgirls,” said Chavez. “Girls who are going to school are being literally poisoned throughout Iran.”