MEK Iran: Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz interviewed about women’s role in the widespread demonstration
Despite the clerical regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters, widespread arrests, and cruel torture of the detained protesters in prisons, anti-regime demonstrations in Iran have persisted for more than 40 days. Regarding the role played by women in the current uprising, Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, the chair of the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), was questioned:
The world is watching that Iranian women are playing a leading role in the current protests in Iran. Can you elaborate on this?
We are facing a misogynous regime, which, over the past 40 years, has violated the most basic rights of women, including their right to choose their attire. Therefore, women are more motivated to fight against this regime.
The role of women in protests is not a spontaneous phenomenon. It is rooted in the struggle of Iranian women for the past 43 years, during which, tens of thousands of women have been imprisoned, tortured, and executed. The number of women executed for their political beliefs in Iran, mostly for being affiliated with the MEK, is unprecedented in modern times.
What are Iranian women’s demands?
The Iranian women certainly demand gender equality in all aspects including the right to choose their attire and their social life, and more important equality in law, in economic and political opportunities.
As a Muslim woman, what is your view on the right of women to freely choose their attire?
I strongly believe in freedom of choice for women to decide about their social life, their attire, their field of study, and their careers. Dictators want to impose their views on the people. The father of the deposed Shah tried to force women to remove their scarves and the mullahs’ regime tried to make wearing them compulsory. I think both are wrong. Women must be free to choose, not be told what to do.
There are reports of a number of teenagers, including young girls, having been arrested or even killed. The Iranian regime has denied this. What is the truth?
We have identified at least 26 underage girls and boys who have been killed by the regime during the recent uprising. One example is the 15-year-old Asra Panahi. She was beaten to death by plainclothes agents because she had refused to participate in propaganda ceremony for Khamenei. There are currently many juveniles in prisons around the country and the UN and international community must act immediately to compel the Iranian regime to release them.
What is the NCRI plan for women?
The NCRI ratified its plan on Women’s Rights and Freedoms 35 years ago, guaranteeing full equal rights for women in every aspect of their life.
For us, women’s equal rights are not limited to their attire but encompass all fundamental rights, equality before the law, and more importantly, equal participation in political leadership and equality in the economic arena.