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Maryam Rajavi's message to UK Parliament: "Women the Force for Change"
On February 28, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi sent a message to the UK Parliament, entitled "Women the Force for Change". Her remarks came as the world prepares to celebrate International Women's Day 2017.

Rajavi first thanked the members of the UK Parliament for giving attention to the plight of women and girls in Iran. There have been multiple arrests of activists, journalists and political opposition members in Iran, with some of the individuals being sentenced to public flogging, stoning or long prison terms.

"A deep political and social crisis, a society ready for change, and an organized movement in which women have an important role," said Rajavi, as she highlighted vital realities in Iran. "Under clerical rule, women are systematically suppressed. On average 2,000 women are arrested daily for not observing the forced dress code."

The NCRI recently reported that a 14-year old girl had been beaten by the morality police for wearing torn jeans in public. "There were two women and two men in a huge van and they pushed us into it with the force of their beatings. Their objection was to the ripped jeans that we were wearing," said the teenager, who requested that she not be named for fear of reprisals. The girls were released once they signed pledges that they would not wear the 'ripped jeans' again and they would adhere to the 'modest' dress code in the future.

In September 2016, Khamenei called for enforced government policies to increase the birth rate. He has also announced that a woman's role is being a mother and a housewife, while a man's role is fatherhood and economic.

"In fact, by repressing women, the mullahs enslave the whole society. On the other hand, however, Iranian women play a significant role in the Iranian people's resistance against this religious tyranny," said Rajavi. She noted that women make up more than 50 percent of the member of the NCRI.

Rajavi also noted that Rouhani's 'moderate' government has not introduced any reform measures for women's rights and that dozens of women have been executed during his term.

She also pointed out that the international community needs to address Iran's human rights violations instead of ignoring them. "Visits to Iran under the mullahs' rule, and silence on the violations of human rights, mass executions and systemic abuse of women's rights is legitimizing human rights violations in Iran," said Rajavi.

"Western governments must not close their eyes on this reality that the mullahs' rule in Tehran has contributed to inhuman, misogynist policies in some countries of the region," she further said.

Critics have noted that the 2015 nuclear deal did not address human rights violations and the NCRI has opposed the deal, arguing that it just propped up the mullahs, who wouldn't hold up their end of the deal, but would benefit financially from the lifting of the nuclear sanctions.

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