Pressure is mounting on Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the ‘Girls of Revolution Street’ protesters as cross-party MEPs, including Labour MEP for the North East of England Jude Kirton-Darling, call on the European Union to show public support.
In a letter sent to the Vice President of the European Commission, signed by 45 MEPs, concerns are raised around the unacceptable loss of lives as a result to ongoing demonstrations in Iran and the breach of fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression.
The anti-hijab protest began in Iran in late December, when Vida Mohaved removed her white hijab and waved it like a flag for an hour while on a busy street in Tehran. Ms Mohaved was arrested and released a month later, but since then dozens of brave women have followed in protesting against the mandatory hijab by removing their headscarves in public places and posting images on social media. This resulted in at least 29 of them being arrested and while some have since been released, many remained imprisoned.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “It is shocking that in this day and age women are still persecuted for decisions to do with their own bodies. The Iranian authorities have a duty to respect these women’s human rights and release them immediately.
“This is just the latest example of Iran’s track record of imprisoning peaceful protesters and infringing human rights but hopefully, with the help of the EU, we will be able to put more pressure on the state to take action and rectify the issue.”
Tehran police said the campaign is instigated from outside Iran through illegal satellite channels – an accusation rejected by the MEPs who stated that “the anti-hijab protests are Iranian and overlapped with protests against the regime over price hikes, unemployment and corruption.”