When the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee recently announced the 2023 winner of the prestigious Peace Prize, Berit Reiss-Andersen uttered the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom!” as she declared Iranian human rights defender Narges Mohammadi the winner.
That slogan rang throughout the nationwide protests following the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police in September 2022. Narges Mohammadi has stood up to the Iranian regime for decades fighting for those principles on behalf of Iranian women and men, including religious minorities and political prisoners. And she has paid a heavy price. First arrested in 1998, Ms. Mohammadi has been repeatedly imprisoned. Currently she is serving a lengthy sentence in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
In a statement, President Joe Biden congratulated Narges Mohammadi and spoke of her “unshakeable” courage. “She has endured repeated arrests, persecution, and torture at the hands of the Iranian regime, yet Ms. Mohammadi’s advocacy and determination have only grown stronger,” he said. “The world still hears the clarion voice of Narges Mohammadi calling for freedom and equality.” He urged Iran to release her and “her fellow gender equality advocates from captivity.”
President Biden noted that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ms. Mohammadi the same week that “horrifying” reports emerged about Iran’s so-called morality police assaulting 16-year old Armita Geravand in Tehran for not wearing a hijab. “The people of Iran refuse to be silenced or intimidated as they fight for a free and democratic future for their nation, and their peaceful movement - ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ – demanding respect for their human rights has brought hope to the people of the world,” he said.
President Biden pointed out that the United States is leading a diplomatic initiative at the United Nations to highlight and promote accountability for the Iranian regime’s abuses. The U.S. has also deployed anti-censorship tools to make it easier for Iranians to access the internet and has sanctioned more than 100 Iranian individuals and entities responsible for supporting the regime’s oppression.
“The United States,” President Biden declared, “will continue to stand with Ms. Mohammadi, with the brave people of Iran, and with all those around the world who are working with resilience and resolve to make our world more equal and more free.”