MEK Iran: Steve McCabe AT Online Conference Marking International Women’s Day 2021
Transcript of remarks by Steve McCabe at the online conference marking International Women’s Day 2021.
To be quite straightforward about this, we should all in this International Women’s Day, be celebrating many wonderful Iranian women, past and present, from all walks of life. Women like Maria Khorsnd, the chief executive of SP Sveriges Tekniska in Sweden, women like Sarah Safari, the professor, engineer, in [unintelligible] have done so much to champion education for girls in the fall.
Today, Iran is not a place that celebrates Women’s Day
But sadly, today, Iran is not a place that celebrates women, not for their contribution, the contribution they make to science, culture, fellow writing, poetry, law, or human rights. Indeed, that independence and talents and independence of main can often lead to incarceration to join in the hundreds of Iranian women locked away in the Mullahs’ jails then subjected to abuse, degradation, torture, and rape.
Take the case of Saba Kord Afshari, imprisoned in the quarantine section of Qarchak women’s prison. She was sentenced to 15 years for national security charges for removing her hijab in public as part of a campaign for women’s rights. Like so many others, this 22-year-old woman’s family said she has been denied much-needed medical treatment.
Another woman transferred to Qarchak is Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer who was sentenced to 30 years for the same so-called national security offenses. National security offenses seem to mean speaking out against and challenging the regime. And of course, we’ve seen today the vile psychological torture being perpetrated on dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who should at this very moment be at home in London with her child.
Conviction of Assadolah Assadi in Belgium
The Iranian authorities have no respect for their own people or citizens of other countries. The Revolutionary Guards, the real power in Iran recently opened fire on innocent demonstrators. It’s against this background that the shocking revelations following the trial and conviction of Assadolah Assadi in Belgium that we must seriously consider our next moves in relation to this regime.
The man in charge of the Revolutionary Guard, the Mullahs, those who torture, murder, and rape, they don’t understand diplomacy. They don’t appreciate efforts to seek peaceful resolution of conflicts.
They interpret friendly gestures and concessions as a sign that the other side is caving in. We should make it abundantly clear that we wouldn’t negotiate with them unless they agree to give up all nuclear weapons development and find the ballistic missile program in a way that’s completely verifiable. We should not negotiate with them, unless we see a total end to the terrorist activities and assassination campaigns across the region and in all other parts of the globe.
The hostage-taking isn’t negotiable
We want Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe free at her home in London where she belongs. That isn’t negotiable. And we shouldn’t negotiate with them until there’s a complete end to the false imprisonment, the hostage-taking, the execution, the rape, torture, and murder.
We shouldn’t negotiate until we accept human rights and demonstrate their respect for the rights of women throughout Iran.
Today, we celebrate the powerful women of Iran, who have given so much to the world. We remember the innocent women locked away in those dark, filthy prisons.
The day of freedom will come
We salute the brave women who would be silenced and we praise the leadership of you, Madame Rajavi, and the hope you bring to so many, that a better future is possible.
The day of freedom will come, and all the towers of Iranian women, those in Iran and those forced to flee will be liberated. We look forward to that. Thank you.