NATIONAL NEWS

Nobel Peace Prize won by Narges Mohammadi for ‘fight against the oppression of women in Iran’

Oct 6, 2023, 1:11 PM

Narges Mohammadi during her medical furlough from prison in 2021 in Tehran.
Mandatory Credit:	Reiha...

Narges Mohammadi during her medical furlough from prison in 2021 in Tehran. Mandatory Credit: Reihane Taravati

(CNN) — The 2023 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi for “her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced in Oslo on Friday.

Mohammadi, 51, has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, and has been banned from seeing her husband and children. Her name has become synonymous with the battle for human rights in Iran, where nationwide protests broke out last year following the death of Mahsa Amini. Amini was a 22-year-old woman who had been taken into custody by the regime’s notorious morality police.

In awarding the prize to Mohammadi, the Nobel Committee said it “recognizes the hundreds of thousands of people who in the preceding year have demonstrated against the theocratic regimes’ policies of discrimination and oppression targeting women.”

“Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, the regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison, and 154 lashes,” Norwegian Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said at the announcement ceremony.

“Ms. Mohammadi is still in prison as I speak,” Reiss-Andersen added.

Mohammadi said she will continue striving for “democracy, freedom, and equality” in a message shared with CNN by her family on Wednesday, to be released in case she won the prize.

It is not clear whether Mohammadi knows about her win. Her friends and family told CNN that those detained in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison are not allowed to receive calls on Thursdays and Fridays.

In the statement, Mohammadi said she would stay in Iran to continue her activism “even if I spend the rest of my life in prison.”

“Standing alongside the brave mothers of Iran, I will continue to fight against the relentless discrimination, tyranny, and gender-based oppression by the oppressive religious government until the liberation of women,” she said.

Taghi Rahmani, Mohammadi’s husband, told CNN that the prize is “for all the people of Iran.” Rahmani, a fellow activist and former political prisoner who served a total of 14 years in regime jails, lives in exile in France with their twin children.

“This prize is not just for Narges; it is for all the people of Iran. A movement in which Iranian women and men took to the streets, stood for months, and fought to show that they will continue to struggle for democracy and civil equality,” Rahmani said.

In a separate statement to CNN, Mohammadi’s family said: “Although the years of her absence can never be compensated for us, the reality is that the honor of recognizing Narges’ efforts for peace is a source of solace for our indescribable suffering.
“It has been more than eight and a half years since she has seen her children, and she has not heard their voices for over a year. All of this signifies what she has endured on the path to realizing her aspirations. Therefore, for us, who know that the Nobel Peace Prize will aid her in achieving her goals, this day is a blessed day,” the family statement added.

The Iranian government on Friday condemned the award, describing it as “biased and politically motivated.”

“The action of the Nobel Peace Prize committee is a political maneuver in line with the interventionist and anti-Iran policies of some European governments, including the host state of the Nobel committee,” said Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, said in a statement published on X.

Incarcerated, but not silenced

Despite being jailed, not even the dark cells of Tehran’s Evin Prison have crushed Mohammadi’s powerful voice.

In an audio recording from inside the jail, shared with CNN ahead of Friday’s announcement, Mohammadi, is heard leading the chants of “woman, life, freedom” – the slogan of the uprising sparked last year by Amini’s death. Amini was arrested for allegedly not wearing her headscarf properly.

The recording is interrupted by a brief automated message – “This is a phone call from Evin Prison” – as the women are heard singing a Farsi rendition of “Bella Ciao,” the 19th-century Italian folk song that became a resistance anthem against fascism and has been adopted by Iran’s freedom movement.

“This period was and still is the era of greatest protest in this prison,” Mohammadi told CNN in written responses to questions submitted through intermediaries.

Mohammadi was one of 351 candidates for this year’s award – the second-highest number in the history of the Nobels. She became the 19th woman to win the award in more than 120 years of the prize.

Oleksandra Matviichuk, a Ukrainian human rights lawyers who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, commended the committee’s decision to honor Mohammadi.

“We live in a very interconnected world. Right now, people in Iran are fighting for freedom. Our future depends on their success,” Matviichuk posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

At Friday’s news conference announcing the award, Reiss-Andersen said: “Only by embracing equal rights for all can the world achieve the fraternity between nations that Alfred Nobel sought to promote,”

“The award to Narges Mohammadi follows a long tradition in which the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Peace Prize to those working to advance social justice, human rights and democracy. These are important preconditions for lasting peace,” she added.

‘Woman, life, freedom’

Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, described Mohammadi’s win as “a tremendous achievement for women’s rights in Iran.”

“Women in the country have been fighting for equality and freedom for generations, and the death of Mahsa Amini became a catalyst against oppression and violence,” Urdal said in a statement to CNN.

“Today’s laureate, unfairly jailed in Tehran, sends a powerful message to the leaders of Iran that women’s rights are fundamental everywhere in the world,” he said.

Mohammadi’s recognition comes after a year of huge upheaval in Iran, sparked by Amini’s death, which swelled into nationwide protests lasting months. Reiss-Andersen described the unrest as “the largest political demonstrations against Iran’s theocratic regime since it came to power in 1979.”

They were met by a brutal government crackdown. “More than 500 demonstrators were killed. Thousands were injured, including many who were blinded by rubber bullets fired by the police. At least 20,000 people were arrested and held in custody,” Reiss-Andersen said.

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of Amini’s death. Video obtained by CNN showed further demonstrations throughout multiple cities in Iran, including capital Tehran, Mashad, Ahvaz, Lahijan, Arak and the Kurdish city of Senandaj.

Many of the protesters shouted “Woman, Life, Freedom,” and others chanted slogans against Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The long road to the Nobel

Mohammadi, who studied for a degree in physics at Imam Khomeini International University in the 1990s, initially worked as an engineer, while writing columns for reformist Iranian newspapers, Berit Reiss-Andersen said at Friday’s news conference.

In 2003, she joined the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, an organization founded by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.

Mohammadi was arrested for the first time in 2011 and convicted in part because of her membership of the Defenders of Human Rights Center. After being released on bail two years later, Mohammadi began to campaign against the use of the death penalty.

“Iran has long been among the countries that execute the highest proportion of their inhabitants annually,” the committee acknowledged. Since January last year, more than 860 prisoners have been punished by death in the country.

Mohammadi was arrested and sentenced again in 2015 for her activism against capital punishment. But her work continued from inside Evin, as she began to oppose human rights abuses committed against political prisoners.

CNN reported last year on how Iran’s security forces used rape to quell the protests that broke out after the death of Amini.

With media access inside Iran severely constrained, CNN went to the region near Iraq’s border with Iran, interviewing eyewitnesses who had left the country and verifying accounts from survivors and sources both in and outside Iran, to corroborate several reports of sexual violence against protesters.

One Kurdish-Iranian woman, whom CNN is calling Hana for her safety, says she both witnessed and suffered sexual violence while detained. “There were girls who were sexually assaulted and then transferred to other cities,” she said.

Iranian officials did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the alleged abuses.

Read the full story here: How Iran’s security forces use rape to quell protests

Since the anniversary of Amini’s death, Iran has continued its crackdown on women’s rights. Its parliament passed draconian new legislation in September, imposing much harsher penalties on women who breach hijab laws. The so-called “hijab bill,” which will be enacted for a three-year trial period, sets out various regulations around the wearing of clothing, which if violated can carry up to 10 years in prison.

UN experts said the new law could amount to “gender apartheid.”

“Authorities appear to be governing through systemic discrimination with the intention of suppressing women and girls into total submission,” the experts said in a statement.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - Chad Daybell is on trial for the murders of his wife Lori Vallow Daybell's two children, Jos...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Defense: Chad Daybell didn’t steal money from wife’s dead children

Chad Daybell's trial continues on Day 5, as the court discussed evidence that possibly connects Daybell to insurance fraud, with funds that were meant for Lori Vallow Daybell's murdered children.

8 hours ago

FILE - Celina Washburn protests outside the Arizona Capitol to voice her dissent for an abortion ru...

Arit John and Cheri Mossburg, CNN

Lawmakers vote against hearing Arizona bill repealing abortion ban on House floor

The Republican-controlled Arizona House of Representatives once again failed to advance a repeal of the state’s 160-year-old abortion ban Wednesday

13 hours ago

Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after giving up a two run home ...

Associated Press

A woman who accused Trevor Bauer of sex assault is now charged with defrauding the ex-MLB player

An Arizona woman who accused former major league pitcher Trevor Bauer of sexual assault has been charged with defrauding the baseball player.

13 hours ago

In this image from video from Senate Television, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., presiding over the Sen...

Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate has dismissed all impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, ending the House Republican push to remove the Cabinet secretary from office over his handling of the the U.S.-Mexico border and ending his trial before arguments even began.

13 hours ago

FILE  -A Ford Bronco is displayed at a Gus Machado Ford dealership on Jan. 23, 2023, in Hialeah, Fl...

Wyatt Grantham-Phillips

Ford recalls over 456,000 Bronco Sport and Maverick cars due to loss of drive power risk

Ford is recalling more than 456,000 Bronco Sport and Maverick vehicles due to a battery detection issue that can result in loss of drive power, increasing crash risks.

17 hours ago

Melatonin use can be especially dangerous in children and should only be used after consulting a pe...

Sandee LaMotte

Melatonin industry asked to voluntarily tighten standards after dramatic rise in childhood ER visits

A March 2024 report from the CDC discovered some 11,000 children had been seen in emergency rooms between 2019 and 2022 after ingesting melatonin while unsupervised.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Nobel Peace Prize won by Narges Mohammadi for ‘fight against the oppression of women in Iran’