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October 6, 2023

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Narges Mohammadi: Honoring Courage and the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ Movement in Iran

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights activist imprisoned for her consistent advocacy and challenges to the authorities in Iran, in a welcome tribute to Iran’s “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement as a whole. She is the second Iranian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after Shirin Ebadi 20 years ago.

Despite being imprisoned in Iran’s Evin Prison, Narges Mohammadi has not wavered in her efforts to promote human rights and democracy. Over the past decade, she has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian government. In 2010, she was arrested while serving as Vice President and spokesperson for the Center for Human Rights Defenders. Some of Iran’s most prominent human rights activists and lawyers were associated with the Center for Human Rights Defenders, including Shirin Ebadi, Mohammad Seifzadeh, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Abdolfattah Soltani, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and Genoos Sabahi. Prior to this, she was a member of an organization that monitored human rights and defended many accused and political prisoners, and she participated in Mohammad Khatami’s 1997 campaign as part of the Melli Mazhabi movement. Recently, she has advocated for a “transition from the Islamic Republic government,” and boycotting elections. 

On October 6th, 2023, at its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee announced Narges Mohammadi as the winner of the 2023 prize.

According to Britt Reiss-Andersen, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, Narges Mohammadi is being honored for her brave fight against injustices imposed on Iranian women, her advocacy for human rights, and her quest for freedom. She stressed that Narges Mohammadi’s courageous struggle has come at a great personal cost, as she has been detained 13 times, declared a criminal five times, and sentenced to 31 years in prison with 154 lashes.

“As I speak, Ms. Mohammadi is still in prison,” Mrs. Reiss-Andersen added. She noted that hundreds of thousands of Iranians participated in peaceful demonstrations against violence and oppression against women during last year’s protests, which were triggered by the killing of 22 year-old Mahsa (Gina) Amini while in custody of the morality police.

During the suppression of protesters, she noted that “over 500 demonstrators were killed, thousands were injured, including many who were blinded by plastic bullets, and at least 20,000 were detained.”

Reiss-Andersen indicated that the message of the Nobel Peace Prize is for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to listen to the voices of its citizens.

In order to maintain a stable society, a civil society, every individual’s rights must be respected, she said.

Mrs. Reiss-Andersen concluded her statement by expressing her hope that the Iranian authorities would make the right decision, and Narges Mohammadi would be released in time for her upcoming award ceremony.

Immediately following Narges Mohammadi’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize, Taghi Rahmani – a prominent political activist and Mohammadi’s husband – remarked that this award is encouraging his wife to continue her courageous work. On behalf of the family, he expressed their deep gratitude to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for bestowing this honor upon her.

Narges stated that this prize would encourage her in her fight for human rights, but more importantly, it was awarded to the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement. “We would also like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to all Iranians, especially to the courageous women and girls of Iran who, through their unwavering courage, have drawn the world’s attention to their struggle for freedom and equality. As a result of Narges Mohammadi’s tireless and peaceful efforts to bring change and freedom to Iran, this remarkable honor is a testament to her success.”

They continued, “This remarkable honor belongs to each and every one of you, the resilient and courageous people of Iran, who have tirelessly and peacefully fought for freedom. In celebration of this significant achievement, let us pay tribute to the women and girls who captured the world’s attention with their remarkable bravery in the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement last year. Our warmest congratulations, on behalf of Narges’s family, go to Iran’s outstanding people. As Narges always says, ‘Victory is not easy, but it is certain.’”

NIAC welcomes the Nobel committee’s excellent choice in honoring Mohammadi and her struggle – along with countless Iranians – against repression, the mandatory hijab and for true democracy. We continue to be inspired by her bravery, like countless others around the world. Mohammadi along with many of her compatriots have been outrageously robbed of years of their lives for their human rights advocacy. We reiterate our call on the Iranian government to release Mohammadi and all prisoners of conscience. We also urge them to heed the Iranian people’s calls for a more just society rather than seek to silence them through violence and brutality.

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