Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          

Public Statement

CONTACT: press@wfafi.org                                                                      

July 29, 2005


Women Present Assessment on Iranian Opposition Organizations in US Congress

BOSTON, MA - On July 27, 2005, Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI) presented a report of its 6-months research on Iranian opposition organizations to Members of Congress in Rayburn House Office Building of the United States Congress.


In addition to staff of congressional offices and women’s rights activists, Congresswoman Shelly Berkley (D-NV) and Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA), addressed the briefing and applauded WFAFI for its work on behalf of equality movement in Iran.


In her opening remarks, the WFAFI’s President Faezeh Khalili-Sami declared WFAFI’s support for Iranian women and their call for equality. She said: “Our role as a non-governmental organization in the United States is to facilitate the political voice of Iranian women...We launched a 6-months long research of the Iranian opposition groups to provide an unfettered assessment of the Iranian groups from the perspective of Iranian women.” Khalil-Sami stressed, “Our goal is to make sure that our policymakers in Washington have a clear understanding of the expectation of Iranian women. We feel Iran’s equality movement should be figured at the center of an urgently needed policy toward regime in Tehran.”


WFAFI panel included two guest speakers as witnesses: Ms. Marjan, a renowned Iranian singer, artist and women’s rights activist; and Mina Entezari, a human rights activist, former female political prisoner with first hand account of the 1988 massacre of the political prisoners.


Marjan who was imprisoned at Evin notorious prison for two years, said: “I am one among countless number of women, who for more than one century, have struggled for freedom and progress and against power hungry dictators in Iran.” In her first-ever presentation to members of Congress, Marjan said: “Mullahs in Iran, consider women and children, their own possessions, and hence deprive their human rights…In my homeland the voice and song of women is satanic and forbidden, unless it is to please the fundamentalist rulers…I ask you, the advocates of human rights, keep a watchful and concerned eye on what is going on in my country and lend a humanistic hand to the legitimate and righteous resistance of those who struggle for freedom.  Before it is too late for humanity as a whole.”


Entezari, who spent seven years in incarceration, told the House briefing how female prisoners were treated and provided names of many who were executed by Tehran’s regime. Referring to 1988 massacre, she said, “This was not only a crime against Iranians freedom lovers.  This was a crime against humanity. The root of this crime and many other criminal and terrorist acts in Iran and abroad, is the religious fundamentalism and Khomeinism that lives and breeds in Tehran.”


Congresswoman Watson (D-CA) said: “I want to encourage all of you because you are stepping out in a very progressive way for your fundamental rights. The contribution that women can make can be enormous in building a democratic government. The fundamentalism that is being described here pushes us back...So, we need more meetings like this… I want to commend Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran for meeting here today…”


Congresswoman Berkley (D-NV) said: “We [members of Congress] very much appreciate the Women’s Forum report. I suspect it will be preferred reading as soon as we begin our recess in the summer. This will provide guidance for us so that we can accurately assess the opposition groups in Iran and make our determination of this nation’s policy on Iran. We support you in your endeavors for freedom, liberty, and democracy in your own homeland. We promise that we will be with you in this long and protracted movement...”

Executive Director of WFAFI, Jila Kazerounian presented “An Assessment of Iranian Opposition Organizations” at the briefing. She said:” WFAFI hopes by publishing this scorecard on various groups, Washington and foreign policy circles elsewhere can better gauge the sincerity and authenticity of claims [of these groups] for a democratic Iran. Information collected in this report is provided in comparative manner for any one to reach their own conclusion on organizations subject to women’s assessment and equality framework of this research.”

Kazerounian added that the WFAFI’s own conclusions were reflected in its recommendations which called on the United States and Europe “to place their full and unprejudiced support for those organizations that are sincere when it comes to rejection of theocracy and respect of women’s and human rights in Iran.WFAFI’s recommendation added, “Indeed, the people of Iran subscribe to an indigenous solution for democracy, which is the homegrown popular movement. This solution calls upon the Western governments, particularly the European Union, to cut off all ties with Tehran’s regime and let the Iranian people lead efforts for fundamental transformation of the regime in Tehran.” Referring to facts provided on Iranian opposition organizations, Kazerounian stressed that “Such facts cannot and shall not be ignored by advocates of women’s rights and democracy in Iran”.


WFAFI's Board of Advisory: Dr. Martha Allen, Dr. Donna Hughes and Dr. Carolyn Byerly, also attended the briefing and offered their support for the report.




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