Nobel Peace Laureate Narges Mohammadi Continues Fight for Change in Iran from Prison
Nobel Peace laureate and human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, currently imprisoned in Iran, expressed her enduring hope for change in the country during an interview with AFP in September. Despite her imprisonment and separation from her family, Mohammadi emphasised that the protest movement that began in Iran one year ago against the Islamic Republic is still alive.
Having first been arrested 22 years ago, the 51-year-old Mohammadi has spent a significant portion of the past two decades in and out of jail due to her relentless advocacy for human rights in Iran. Her most recent imprisonment began in November 2021, and she has not seen her children in eight years.
While she observed the protests that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022 from her prison cell, Mohammadi asserted that these protests demonstrated the widespread dissatisfaction within Iranian society. She stated, “The government was not able to break the protests of the people of Iran, and I believe that society has achieved things that have weakened the foundations of religious-authoritarian rule.”
Mohammadi acknowledged the recurring protest outbreaks in Iran even before September 2022, emphasising the irreversible nature of the situation and the potential for further expansion of protests. She contended that the protests opposing the Islamic Republic extended beyond urban areas and educated classes and highlighted the diminishing influence of religious authority in Iranian society.
Mohammadi criticised Western countries for what she described as their “appeasement” of Iran’s leaders, asserting that foreign governments failed to recognise progressive forces and leaders in Iran. She also shared that she is currently serving a combined sentence of 10 years and nine months in prison, has been sentenced to 154 lashes, and faces five cases related to her activities within the prison.
Despite the significant personal cost of her activism, particularly the separation from her family, Mohammadi remains committed to the struggle for democracy, equality, and freedom in Iran. She expressed her hope for freedom and her belief that the fight must continue until these principles are achieved.