This discussion revolves around the challenges and advancements of the Women, Life, Freedom Movement in Iran, which is resisting oppressive measures by the regime, including gender oppression and increasing death sentences for protesters.

The interview introduces a member of the Nasvan Revolutionary Committee, a secret women’s committee formed to address gaps in feminist organizing. This committee focuses on organizing working-class women and queer people, adopting a non-hierarchical yet structured approach to activism. The committee was formed in response to the Jina Uprising, emphasizing the need for more organized and deliberate activism against patriarchal structures.

The interview discusses how the Iranian government has co-opted the pro-Palestine discourse, which has impacted public perception. There is a narrative in Iran that criticizes the government for allegedly prioritizing financial support to Palestinian groups over addressing domestic economic issues, which has led to discontent among the Iranian population.

The discussion raises the concern about how Iranians can support Palestinian liberation without inadvertently supporting the regime’s agenda, emphasized is the importance of building strong, genuine regional solidarity networks that do not rely on repressive governments but rather on grassroots movements that can truly represent and support the cause of liberation across the region.

The struggle for Palestinian liberation is seen as intrinsically linked to the fight against internal repression within Iran. The speaker suggests that any real progress in Iran or the region depends on the interconnected liberation efforts, including the Palestinian cause.

The repressive measures taken by the regime, the increasing death sentences against those who dare to protest oppression and patriarchy, all raise the question: will this lead to an era of fear and stagnation or will dissidents find new ways of manifesting?

Q: What can you tell us a bit more about Nasvan? Why did it come to life to respond to what gaps exactly?

A: The Nasvan Revolutionary Committee revolves around the main mission to organize working-class women and queer people. We use an ‘X’ instead of an ‘e’ in the word ‘woman’ to signify that we’re talking about both ciswomen and transwomen. We formed during the Gena Uprising in response to the dire need for a more robust and organized form of activism, because all of us had years of experience within the women’s movement and worked within various groups which mainly focused on a non-hierarchical structure. During the Gena Movement, we realized that we need a sort of structural change within the Iran system, but in order to achieve that, we need a more structured and deliberate form of activism.

Q: Can you talk a bit about the dynamics between the diaspora Iranians and those inside Iran? How would you describe it?

A: The majority of our revolutionary cells and working groups are in Iran, but we also have several members outside of Iran. We’re in contact regularly, discussing the politics of what’s happening and what needs to be done. We do have a diverse presence across different regions of Iran. Unfortunately, I cannot get into more details as it would not be safe for those members inside Iran.

Q: Rosa, if we want to go back to your roots which is the Jina movement, now we see that there are more repressive measures against people, against protesters and as I said also an increasing percentage of those are on the death row including a lot of women. Has this led women to withdraw from the public space or are they still confronting law enforcement and the Vigilante groups?

A: Very good question. I’m going to give a little bit of historical context because I think in order to understand what’s happening now, it’s important to understand where the Gena movement actually came from. The Gena movement, despite the fact that some groups see it as a very significant and one-of-a-kind event, operated as part of a decade-long period of mass insurgency and organized resistance in Iran. This includes both women’s rights movements and other forms of uprising against ethnic discrimination and economic issues. Over the past at least 10 years, there has been an increasing level of organized resistance in Iran.

Q: How do you support the Palestinian struggle for liberation without doing a service to the regime if you’re Iranian?

A: This is one of the things we talk about all the time within our committee. We believe that an actual class-based struggle, an actual revolution, would never happen without the liberation of Palestine. Standing in front of imperialism is a very important aspect of liberation for the region and we believe in it. However, Iran’s government’s hijacking of the anti-imperialist sentiment and third worldism since 1979 complicates this. We need true regional grassroots solidarity, not based on allying with any government or repressive regime, to make a coalition of grassroots movements and organizations against imperialism.

Q: When it comes to the present day, is it worse for women right now?

A: Obviously, the suppression has increased. The number of executions has been increasing more and more. At least 500 people were executed so far, and thousands of people were arrested. When it comes to women, the structural issues have always been there, and over the past couple of years, at least the past decade, the issues against women have gotten worse. For example, one of the issues that we work on in the committee is the issue of abortion and body autonomy. The government wants to control the population because there has been a decrease in population due to women having higher education, the age of marriage rising, and fewer people having children. This control is exerted by imposing draconian laws and rules against abortion, putting in place measures that were not as horrifying before.

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10 responses to “From Iran to Palestine:
The Shared Path of Liberation and Feminist Resistance”

  1. Saman Shafiezadeh

    Go and f… yourself. We iranians hate hamas and fully support Israel. Let’s destroy hamas and all islamic terrorist groups. We love Reza Pahlavi and hate Islam and islamic regime

    1. Everyone has the right to their views, but promoting peace and understanding is crucial. Criticizing Hamas is one thing, spreading hate is another. In addition, neither you nor I represent the people of Iran. Each of us has narratives and opinions that in an open and free society, ultimately others can have their choice. I do not respect a narrative that promotes hate.

      1. Homa Ajomand

        well said

  2. Robin Blick

    Hamas is a proxy of the Iranian theocracy. That is why Gaza needs liberating from Hamas, not Israel, where woman share equal rights with men

    1. I do not criticize Hamas for what Israel says, I follow my own principles. In a society under siege, occupation and condemn to apartheid, different forms of resistance can be formed. Hamas is the symptoms of a historical process that cannot be separated from the apartheid and occupation policies of the Israel.

      1. Jonathan Dore

        Israel is not an Apartheid state. Its 2 million Arab citizens have exactly the same rights as its Jewish citizens. Until the current war, which Hamas started, Gaza had not been occupied by Israel since 2005. You may distance yourself from Hamas, but you parrot their talking points and buzzwords. It’s very disappointing to see such an admirable movement as yours allying itself with the aims and language of the Iranian theocracy’s faithful client Hamas. Do you not see how contradictory that is?

        1. In response to you, I think this short documentary from Al Jazeera will suffice. I am not talking about Israeli citizens. I am talking about the occupied territories and the way Palestinians are traded by Israel. Also, I have written a lot about Palestine. Please refer to them as well.

          1. Stafford

            Siyavash, do you know the history of Israel?
            Let me make it simple.
            G-d the G-d of Abraham gave the promised Land to the Israelites, in the Quran it is written there is a contract between Allah and the Jews.
            The Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and the armies of Alexander the Great all conquered the region in succession and, finally, so too, the armies of Rome. By the time Rome appeared in the land it was long known as Judea, a term taken from the ancient Kingdom of Judah which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. It was also referred to, however, as Palestine and, after the Bar-Kochba Revolt of 132-136 CE, the Roman emperor Hadrian renamed the region Syria-Palaestina to punish the Jewish people for their insurrection (by naming it after their two traditional enemies, the Syrians and the Philistines). The designations Philistia, Roman Judea, and Palestine were all in use afterwards.
            500 years later a Muslim Army conquered the region , occupied Israel and colonised the land. Muslims remained in and out of control with Christians right up until 1948 when the Jordanians were beaten. And the UN acknowledged Israels right to exist, the UN did not create Israel as is often mistakenly reported.
            Like Muslims who claim conquered lands as always Muslim the Jewish people believe that the Kingdom of Judah ,Holy Land, Palestine, Israel is theirs forever for all time, because G-d gave it to them.
            If you dispute this then you challenge the writing of the Quran
            يَـٰقَوْمِ ٱدْخُلُوا۟ ٱلْأَرْضَ ٱلْمُقَدَّسَةَ ٱلَّتِى كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَلَا تَرْتَدُّوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَدْبَارِكُمْ فَتَنقَلِبُوا۟ خَـٰسِرِينَ ٢١
            O my people! Enter the Holy Land which Allah has destined for you ˹to enter˺. And do not turn back or else you will become losers.”
            This signifies ‘Palestine’ which had been the homeland of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Israel.
            you should also note that G-d will support Israel and the Jews when the whole world turns against them and only those who believe in the Prophets will be saved.

          2. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this comment. However, I cannot find a connection between your comment and this interview, as well as my own opinion. Please pay attention to my other posts about Palestine and also the role of religion and racism. Thank you.

  3. Mary Robinson

    Over here in the UK, students are calling for an Intifada. Looks like they like the idea of a theocracy.

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