June 23, 2024
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Teenage children of jailed Narges Mohammadi accept her Nobel Peace Prize

The teenage twins of jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi have accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf.

Ms Mohammadi – who is serving a 10-year jail term in Tehran – won this year’s prize for her work fighting against the oppression of women in Iran.

In a speech smuggled from prison and read out by her children, she denounced Iran’s “tyrannical” government.

“The Iranian people, with perseverance, will overcome repression and authoritarianism,” she said.

“Have no doubt, this is certain.”

The prestigious Peace Prize was handed out in Oslo on Sunday, along with the other Nobel prizes for literature, science and economics.

Ms Mohammadi has for years been a prominent human rights figure in Iran. The 51-year-old has been in jail almost continuously since 2010 – and in total has been arrested 13 times, convicted five times, and sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison.

She is currently in jail for “spreading propaganda”.

Her husband, political activist Taghi Rahmani, lives in exile in Paris with their two children and they have not seen one another for years.

In a speech smuggled out of Iran and delivered by her 17-year-old children Kiana and Ali Rahmani in French, Ms Mohammadi said: “I write this message from behind the high, cold walls of a prison.”

She praised young Iranians who she said have “transformed the streets and public spaces into a place of widespread civil resistance” – referring to the protests that began last year following the death of Mahsa Amini.

“The resistance is alive and the struggle is not weakening. Resistance and non-violence are our best strategies – it is the same difficult path that Iranians have walked until today, thanks to their historical consciousness and their collective will.”

The twins collected the prize – which includes a cheque for 11 million Swedish crowns (about £837,000, or $1m) – at a ceremony in Oslo’s City Hall attended by several hundred guests.

There was an empty chair on the podium between her children, to mark her absence.

Ali and Kiana Rahmani, children of Narges Mohammadi, an imprisoned Iranian human rights activist, attend the Nobel Peace Prize 2023 award ceremony, where they accept the award on behalf of their mother at Oslo City Hall, Norway December 10, 2023.
Ali and Kiana Rahmani – next to the empty chair for their mother – live in exile in France

On Saturday, Ms Mohammadi’s husband, Mr Rahmani, told BBC Hardtalk that his wife had once written a letter to their children expressing the hope “they would forgive her” for not being able to “be a mother to them”.

He said she was among a group of imprisoned human rights activists “standing up against the tyranny of the Islamic Republic”.

A month ago, Ms Mohammadi began a hunger strike in the notorious Evin prison where she is being held.

Narges Mohammadi
Narges Mohammadi, 51, is currently serving a 10-year prison term

Iran’s foreign ministry previously said the Nobel award was “biased” and in line with “the interventionist and anti-Iran policies of some European countries”.

Also on Sunday, Norwegian author Jon Fosse is being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, while three scientists are receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their work in developing what are called quantum dots.

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier, whose work demonstrated a way to create extremely short pulses of light that can be used to capture and study rapid processes inside atoms.

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