On October 6th, 2023, the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo announced that Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize ‘for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all’.
For more than 30 years, Narges Mohammadi has been at the forefront in the struggle for democracy, freedom, and human rights in Iran. In that time, the Iranian regime has arrested, convicted, and imprisoned her multiple times. Mohammadi remains imprisoned in Evin Prison, serving a sentence totalling 31 years.
Many Iranian writers, artists, journalists, and human rights defender who have spoken up against the regime have been targeted, harassed, and imprisoned. Many of them have been able to continue their work in the safety of an ICORN residency, challenging the Islamic authorities from exile. Narges Mohammadi embodies both the fight for freedom in Iran, but also the high personal cost many activists, and increasingly ordinary Iranian people, sacrifice.
Journalists, writers, and women’s rights activists Asieh Amini, Moloud Hajizadeh, and Mahdieh Golroo are among those who have taken on the Iranian regime alongside Narges Mohammadi and continue doing so from exile.
Following last Friday’s announcement from the Nobel Peace Centre, Amini commented:
‘This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is not only a personal honour, but it is important for the living movement of people who stand behind it - people who use every opportunity for freedom, equality, and human dignity, and every single day pay a lot for it. People who go to war every day in the field called ‘street’, where their weapons are words, dance, song, and music! On the other side of this war field sits a regime that is fully armed and ready to fire. Narges Mohammadi represents these people, and she deserves this worthy award. We are honoured that she brings this honour to Iran!’
An outspoken women’s rights activist and journalist, Mahdieh Golroo has work closely with Narges Mohammadi, and shared a prison cell with her. Golroo says:
‘I can confidently say that Narges Mohammadi is a good role model for women who work in dictatorial and misogynistic governments. The Islamic government in Iran is against Narges because she is not only a human rights activist, but also a woman who refused to accept the stereotypes and enforced traditions of the regime and stands bravely against Islamic patriarchy’.
Journalist and women’s rights activist Moloud Hajizadeh who also knows Narges Mohammadi personally, released a comment via Larvik Library’s social media. Here is some what Hajizadeh said:
‘Today is an important day for me and other women in Iran.
Narges won the Nobel Peace Prize today, and for me it means that the world has heard the voices of Iranian women.
I know Narges well. For years, she has struggled with her love for Iran and our people. A woman whom the Iranian regime could not gag, even in prison. A brave woman who is so kind and loving that when you get to know her, it is a bit difficult to think how a woman with so much kindness can be so brave and strong in front of one of the worst dictatorial regimes in the world today.
On the day I left prison, Narges accompanied me to the bottom of the stairs and the exit door. When the door had been closed, she waved at me with a friendly smile and said: ‘Send my greetings to all our friends and tell them I hope to see you all soon in freedom’.
Today, on the day Narges won the Nobel Peace Prize, she remains behind bars. Narges is still far away from her two children and deprived of the right to see them or even have a telephone conversation with them.
In the last year when protests erupted in Iran, Narges cried out for freedom from prison, despite pressure and harassment, together with the rest of the women in Iran. From inside the prison, she wrote statements, protested together with other prisoners, and did not remain silent for a moment.
I show my respect for our dear Narges from Iran. And I hope to hug her very soon in a free Iran.’
Asieh Amini and Moloud Hajizadeh also joined a panel discussion on the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize, part of an event celebrating Narges Mohammadi, organised by the Nobel Peace Center on October 7th. They were joined by Ingvill Bryn Rambøl and Mahmoud Farahmand MP.
You can find out more information and watch the whole event here.