Taghi Rahmani, Iranian opponent: “The Nobel Peace Prize for Narges Mohammadi is a setback for the Iranian regime” | International

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Narges Mohammadi (Zanjan, 51 years old), awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize on October 6, knows what her 16-year-old twins, Kiana and Ali, look like now, thanks to cell phones, videos and photos . She has not seen her children in person for eight years and 19 months since this human rights defender does not even have permission to hear her voice on the phone in Evin prison, in Tehran, where she is serving a sentence of more than ten years in prison. Mohammadi has spent the last 12 years in and out of prison. In that time, her husband, Taghi Rahmani (Qazvin, 64)—who also spent 14 years in the dungeons of the Iranian regime—has been her voice in the West. From Paris, where he lives in exile with his children, Rahmani highlighted in a video call with this newspaper on October 9 how this Nobel Peace Prize, which recognizes his wife's struggle, will also serve to “promote the 'Woman, Life and Freedom' movement. ”. That was the motto of the protests against the Iranian regime triggered on September 16, 2022 by the death in police custody of Mahsa Yina Amini, a 22-year-old girl who three days earlier had been arrested for wearing the mandatory veil incorrectly.

Ask: How did your wife react when she found out about the award?

Answer: Narges [Mohammadi] He found out that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize on Friday. [el 6 de octubre] and it was a great joy. Her father told her on the phone and her husband informed another prisoner of hers, but she also, curiously, found out through a government television channel, which often criticizes Narges herself and other opponents. . When the West gives an award like this to a dissident, the regime always says that human rights are being politicized and that is the version they are giving. They don't directly threaten you saying 'we're going to increase your sentence' or something like that because you've won this award, but there is a veiled threat.

Q. Do you have any hope that she will be freed from it, as requested by the president of the Nobel Committee?

R. Forty prisoners who are imprisoned with her have asked in a letter to release her, but the important thing, and therein lies the joy that this award represents, has nothing to do with whether Narges is released or not. The important thing is that now everyone will know her struggle. The award now gives much more strength to her request for freedoms, for respect for human rights. The important thing is that the world will pay more attention to what is happening in Iran. This award is a boost to Narges' fight.

Q. Has the award been a setback for the regime?

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R. Of course it has been, but that is the consequence, not the motivation or the objective of the Nobel. This award hurts the Islamic Republic because in Iran there has been a revolution, a movement in which more than 500 people have lost their lives. [según las organizaciones iraníes de derechos humanos]many others have lost their eyes [manifestantes quedaron cegados de un ojo u ambos por disparos de las fuerzas de seguridad] and more than 20,000 have been detained. Narges is a symbol of all that. This award recognizes her sacrifice, what she has done for more than 25 years and how she has supported this movement from prison. [las protestas]but it is also a reward for the protesters.

Narges Mohammadi, 2023 Nobel Peace Prize winner, in an undated image. REIHANE TARAVATI (Middle East Images / AFP)

Q. What impact will the Nobel Prize have on the protests?

R. So far, people's reaction has been good. Even Farah Diba [la viuda del último sah de Irán, Mohamed Reza Pahlevi] has congratulated Narges. The only one who has not congratulated her has been the small group of Iranians who support the Islamic Republic. Apart from the Iranian regime and the monarchists [partidarios de la reinstauración de la dinastía Pahlevi]With the exception of Farah Diba, all opposition groups have considered this Nobel deserved. For example, Narges has been congratulated by teachers' and other workers' unions. That is relevant, because these people are inside Iran and have the ability to mobilize many people. Those who matter are those who are inside, those groups that have the power to get people out onto the streets.

Q. What is the situation in Iran today?

R. Iranians continue to protest; women are protesting; On social media everyone is protesting. When in the country even the reformists, who are part of the system, are happy with the awarding of this Nobel to Narges, it means that discontent with the regime continues and is widespread. And in that, we have already won. It is true that any revolution has ups and downs, and now we are at a lower point. Iranians continue civil disobedience to the regime, as seen in women removing the mandatory hijab. The movement continues, but it does so in a hidden way. When we have all the strong unions in the country that show this discontent and have many people behind them, we see the support that these protests continue to have. That is why, for us, the congratulations for Narges's Nobel Prize that came from inside the prison, from the imprisoned union leaders or from the unions, are the ones that matter. For a country to rise, it has to do so from within. The West will come behind.

Q. Protests in Iran lack leaders.

R. An opposition leadership has to be accepted within the country [alude a la Alianza para la Democracia y la Libertad en Irán, un intento de parte de la diáspora iraní de reunir a la oposición el pasado mes de febrero que pronto se desintegró]and that has not happened. Furthermore, the protests in Iran are a new model of revolution that we are not familiar with. We also don't know exactly what is happening in Iran. We would only know if there was a referendum on the regime. That would show the support or lack thereof of the Islamic Republic.

Q. The Islamic Republic is increasing repression against those who disobey the veil law.

R. In reality, in Iran it is no longer like years ago, when if a few strands escaped from your scarf, the morality police would immediately arrive and scold you. Now, they are so desperate that there have been police officers who tell women to even put a thread, a small cloth on their head, whatever, to be able to maintain that these Iranian women are obeying the rules. [del régimen] and the mandatory hijab law. Two years ago [antes de las manifestaciones]75% of Iranian women no longer agreed with the mandatory hijab. I have two sisters, one wears it and the other does not, but even the one who does wear it does not agree that it is mandatory. The veil is a symbol of domination. This protest movement is so important that even some ayatollahs who are with the regime do not agree with women being forced to wear the headscarf.

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