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Irish Iranians protest outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin yesterday.
VOICES

Irish Iranians 'We cannot give in to this barbaric regime'

Irish Iranians show solidarity with protestors in Iran and ask European lawmakers to take decisive action against the regime.

MONDAY OF THIS week marked exactly four months since 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini died in a hospital bed in Tehran, following her arrest by the morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly.

While the government tried to hide the truth, her death in September triggered demonstrations in Iran, along with arrests and executions. Women and men took to the street chanting Mahsa’s name and demanding justice.

Many women took off their hijabs or cut a piece of their hair in public, in performative acts of civil disobedience. These protests are not about the hijab but about the oppression, structural injustice and persistent human rights violations imposed by Iran’s totalitarian regime for the past 43 years.

anti-government-protest The death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police caused a global outcry and protests for months, inside and outside Iran. PA PA

The movement that has grown right around the world is supported by both Iranian and non-Iranians who recognise the everyday injustices and know that there is only “one solution, revolution!”.

Showing solidarity

This movement is also very much alive here in Ireland. Every Saturday since Mahsa’s death, members of the Iranian community and their allies have been gathering outside the GPO in Dublin chanting Women, Life, Freedom and demanding justice and democracy for Iran.

We have been asking the Irish people to join us in the fight to end the brutal regime and to “echo the voice of Iran”.

The Iranian community has also gathered outside Leinster house on multiple occasions, demanding the Irish government expel the Iranian Ambassador and key diplomatic personnel and cancel its plans to reopen the Irish embassy in Tehran which was closed back in 2012.

During a Dáil debate in December, the Taoiseach condemned the crackdown on protestors and expressed the government’s “full solidarity with the Iranian people in their efforts to change their country for the better.” He re-iterated “that the executions are absolutely wrong and should stop”, however since his comments, we have not seen any concrete actions by the government to support this stance at both local and European levels.

For women living in Iran, the day-to-day realities of life are very different to what we are accustomed to here in the west. In Iran, women cannot sing, ride a bike, dance or show their hair in public, travel freely without male approval or enter stadiums.

It comes as no surprise that on 14 December last, the UN adopted a resolution to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women, due to its concerns over the Iranian government’s actions since September “to continuously undermine and increasingly suppress the human rights of women and girls” and “often with the use of excessive force”.

On Monday, up to 12,000 people marched to the EU Parliament in the city of Strasbourg in support of Iran’s anti-government protesters. Members of the Iranian community in Ireland also showed their support for this rally by gathering outside the Iranian embassy in Dublin.

The protestors want the European Union to take a firmer stance against Iran, declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organisation. Today, MEPs will be discussing the EU’s response to the protests and executions in Iran with EU Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell and a resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

A brutal regime

Since the emergence of the recent protests in Iran, Human Rights Watch has documented the IRGC security forces’ use of excessive and lethal force for a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters and in violation of international human rights law.

Security forces have fired handguns, shotguns, and military assault rifles against protesters during largely peaceful demonstrations in at least 13 cities across the country.

The Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) has recorded 13,342 reports of human rights violations conducted by IRGC during 2022 and 23,977 individuals arrested due to political or civil rights-related activities. They have confirmed the killing of 255 people at the hands of IRGC during the protests, many of whom are women and children. Amnesty International has also identified 26 peaceful protesters at serious risk of execution, many of whom were sentenced without having legal representation or a fair trial.

For the past 43 years, the crimes against humanity and acts of terror committed by the IRGC against democratic societies, groups, and individuals are well documented. On 8 January 2020, the IRGC shot down Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 killing all 176 civilian passengers onboard and on 28 December 2022, the governments in Canada, Sweden, the UK, and Ukraine sent a diplomatic note to the Islamic Republic requiring them to bring those responsible for this act of terrorism to justice. Most recently, IRGC has delivered Iranian drones to Russia and their deadly deployment was documented in the war of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The United States designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organisation in 2019 and it is well overdue that the EU does the same and upholds its commitment to the protection of democracy and humanity and to protect European citizens from future acts of terror by IRGC.

We urge the EU to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran who risk their lives to stand up against the terrorist organisation IRGC. Specifically, we ask the MEPs to vote in favour of the resolution to list the IRGC as a terrorist organisation during the upcoming session of the European Parliament and to immediately enforce the restrictive financial measures and judicial implications thereof.

We also urge Ireland to take a leading role on the international stage, to cut ties with Iran by expelling the Iranian Ambassador and key diplomatic personnel from Ireland and to cancel its plans to reopen the Irish embassy in Tehran.

Written by Irish Iranians fighting for democracy and freedom for all Iranians. For more, see Twitter and Instagram

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