On Sat. Sept. 22, a large crowd of Iranian-Americans gathered in a New York venue to voice their support for continued protests in Iran and to call on the international community to support the Iranian people and their resistance movement in the cause for regime change in Iran. Titled “2018 Iran Uprising Summit: The Path to Freedom – the Alternative,” the event was organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) and featured speeches by American and European politicians as well as discussion panels by Iranian communities and musical performances by Iranian youth. The youth, who came from the US and Canada, underlined the role of “resistance units,” which they described as “small groups of MEK supporters who work in a very focused and targeted way inside Iran. ”Resistance units have had an important role in organizing protests across the country since they started in late December 2018. They also represent Iranians from all areas of the society. The keynote speaker of the event was Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who addressed the crowd through teleconference. “Accelerating developments in Iran enhance the prospects of an Iran free of religious tyranny,” Mrs. Rajavi said, referring to the surge of protests that have been shaking the foundations of the ruling regime since December. The regime’s crackdown on demonstration and the arrest of protesters have not deterred the Iranian people in their resolve to overthrow the regime, Mrs. Rajavi added. She also spoke to the upcoming UN Security Council session, which will be hosted by the US president and will likely be focused on Iran on Sept 26. “It is an urgent imperative that the Security Council address the flagrant violations of human rights in Iran, especially the torture and massacre of political prisoners, and the regime’s export of terrorism and warmongering in the Middle East Region. It must adopt binding measures to compel the regime to halt its crimes,” Mrs. Rajavi said. While emphasizing that the Iranian people have all they need to overthrow the Iranian regime, Mrs. Rajavi reiterated the international community’s responsibility to support them in their uprisings. She also stressed the need to cut off the financial lifelines of Tehran’s security and suppression apparatus and the need to shut down the Iranian regime’s embassies and expel its diplomats and operatives from all countries.
“Iran’s seat at the United Nations does not belong to the terrorist regime ruling it. That seat belongs to the Iranian people and Resistance,” Mrs. Rajavi concluded. In OIAC’s conference Former US National Security Advisor James Jones, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, Former US General Attorney Michael Mukasey, Former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi to name a few were president and gave speeches.
With the deteriorating economic situation in Iran, women heads of household have suffered economic pressures twice as much in recent months. Now, with the start of the school year, the expenses for their children’s education have added to their concerns.
Rouhollah Babaii, chairman of the Social Committee of the Iranian regime’s parliament, said, "The government must decide on how to handle the situation of women heads of household as soon as possible, because many of the damages we see in this realm cannot be rectified in any way." (The state-run salamatnews.com - September 18, 2018)
In terms of the status of women heads of household, state-run media reports vary in terms of how much assistance they receive from a welfare or relief committee. But what is certain is that giving support to this group of women is long overdue, with the rare support institutes in acting weakly in some cities. Female heads of households often earn their living with great difficulty, even if they receive any aid from relatives or acquaintances. The occasional and insignificant support, such as loans and subsidies, do little to improve the living conditions of women heads of household.
According to government officials, there are at least 3.5 million women heads of household in Iran, 82 percent of whom are unemployed and live below the poverty line. Only a small percentage of women heads of household are covered by the Welfare Organization and receive a meager monthly aid of 70,000 toumans which is less than 10 percent of the minimum wage of 930,000 toumans, while the poverty line in Iran currently stands at 5 million toumans. (The official IRNA news agency – November 22, 2015)
A government official in Kermanshah admitted by saying, "We have seen many times that a woman head of household has been forced to take unconventional measures, the most common of them being the selling of kidneys." (The state-run Mehr News Agency – October 8, 2015)
Eight years after the drafting of the bill for Provision of Security for Women, the bill has yet to be approved by the Iranian regime’s parliament. At a meeting on September 18, to review the bill for Provision of Security for Women, Parvaneh Salahshouri, a member of regime’s parliament, said, "The bill initially called, ‘Elimination of Violence Against Women', was first renamed as Provision of Security for Women. For two and a half years, the bill has been supposed to come back to the parliament, but the bill has got stuck in a labyrinth incomparable to any other bill or plan.”
Four women have been arrested in Shiraz, south-central Iran, because of their Baha’i faith. One of the four women, Nora Pourmoradian, a resident of Shiraz, was arrested on September 16, by agents of the Department of Intelligence and transferred to the department’s Detention Center. Another one of the four women arrested in Shiraz is Ms. Soudabeh Haghighat who was also arrested on Sunday night, September 16, at her home while her family and relatives were preparing for the funeral of her grandmother.
Earlier on Saturday, September 15, two other women –Bahareh Ghaderi and Elaheh Samizadeh--- were also arrested in Shiraz.
Agents of the Ministry of Intelligence reportedly broke into the psychology class of Mr. Navid Bazmandegan, confiscating the ID cards, computers, flash disks, mobile phones, along with the passwords and emails of the students. Subsequently, they took Mr. Bazmandegan to his home.
There, they arrested his wife, Bahareh Ghaderi, and after the inspection of their home and confiscation of their personal belongings, they transferred the Baha’i couple to an unknown location.
Bahareh Ghaderi and Navid Bazmandegan have a three-year-old daughter by the name of Darya who is struggling with cancer.
In addition to the four women arrested in Shiraz, another Baha’i woman residing in Shiraz by the name of Rouhiyeh Nariman, was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail by the 17th Branch of the Revision Court in this city.
Currently there are many Baha’i women behind bars because of their faith. They are deprived of their basic human rights and are constantly harassed or insulted by security agents.
Baha'ism is considered an illegal faith in Iran under the current regime and its adherents are deprived of their rights to education, employment and practice of their faith.
Plundered women gathered in the city of Rasht, northern Iran, on Monday, September 17, to protest against the Caspian Credit Institute’s defrauding of their assets and investments. Also in Tehran, a large number of plundered women and men depositors of the Caspian Credit Institute gathered and held a protest rally in front of the Central Bank. Women have had significant presence in the protests of various sectors of the society. Iranian women’s protest rallies amount to at least 390 from March to August 2018 according to women’s committee of the Iranian resistance. This represents an almost double-fold increase in the average number of protests per month compared to last year's 426 protests registered from March 2017 to March 2018, where Iranian women actively participated.