Friday , 1 March 2024

Nobel Winner Criticizes West’s Limited Support For Iranians Seeking Change

iranintl – Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned in Tehran, has criticized Western governments for their half-hearted support for Iranians who fight for democracy and human rights.

In her acceptance speech –sent from the notorious Evin prison, read by her teenage daughter in Oslo– Mohammadi said the Islamic Republic is in a state of “unstable equilibrium” with very little popular support, and will give way to democracy sooner rather than later.

“But the reality is,” she added, “that [foreign] governments and the UN have not had the conviction, the practical coherence, and the proactive approach that seemed necessary and fitting for the kind of support that wills the victory of the people of Iran.”

Iranian dissidents often cite lack of foreign support as a contributing factor to their nonsuccess in getting rid of the Islamic Republic. When it comes to defining the nature and the scope of such support, Western governments are mostly unclear and divided, dissidents argue.

“Western governments should not delay democracy and human rights by adopting confused strategies that are concerned with the continuation of the Islamic Republic’s rule,” Mohammadi said.

Her words seem to be directed at Western leaders who consider it to be wiser –or see no alternative but– to deal with those who rule Iran as long as they’re in control.

“The policies and strategies of Western governments have been too superficial to give priority to the will of the Iranian people to achieve their goals,” Mohammadi said.

The Norwegian Nobel committee awarded Mohammadi for her “fight against oppression of women in Iran” and the promotion of human rights for all, in what has been read by some as a decision to aggravate the regime in Tehran.

Narges Mohammadi has spent much of the last decade in prison, serving multiple sentences on charges including spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic. She was symbolically represented on stage in Oslo by a portrait of her and an empty chair.

Mohammadi’s husband, Taghi Rahmani, and their twins –who live in exile in France– attended and received the reward on her behalf.

The event, supposedly a universal source of joy for Iranians, became yet another trigger for heated debate on social media when Rahmani said in an interview on the sidelines of the ceremony that Iranians inside Iran do not want sudden change.

Some read this as a statement in support of Reformists and attacked Rahmani, accusing him of betraying his wife’s suffering and promoting the regime’s agenda.

Others, including some prominent voices on social media whose loved ones have been killed by the regime in recent years, created a double-hashtag (which would translate in English as #DeathToIslamicRepublic and #DeathToReformMovement) with no reference to Rahmani but coinciding with the event.

Taghi Rahmani, a renowned journalist and political activist, had spent more than 13 years in prison before he left Iran in 2012. He’s been a vocal critic of the Islamic Republic for many years but believes any sudden political change in Iran to be a “strategic mistake.”

Unlike his Nobel winning wife, Rahmani used his platform Sunday to decry foreign influence, citing the examples of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and President Donald Trump’s unilateral abandonment of the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran.

Mohammadi, although vague in her language, seemed to be welcoming –or even encouraging– outside help in her Nobel speech.

“It is expected that the global civil society provides more tangible support to the Iranian people’s efforts towards democratic and non-violent transition to achieve peace, democracy, and human rights.”