Art Box Portal //
This year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the brave Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi (1972), who, under the charge of „spreading propaganda against the state,“ is serving multiple sentences in the infamous prison in Tehran.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to her for „exceptional courage and dedication in facing systemic human rights violations in Iran.“ This courageous and unwavering Iranian, who has not seen her family for more than eight years, has experienced multiple arrests and lengthy prison sentences. Convicted for giving a voice to those who have none and campaigning against the death penalty, Mohammadi has spent most of the past two decades in prison. The regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison.
The head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee unsuccessfully appealed to Iran to release Narges Mohammadi and allow her to receive the award at the ceremony. While the award received widespread approval worldwide, for Iran, it is a ‘biased and political’ act. Similar appeals have had little impact in the past. Mohammadi is the fifth Nobel Peace Prize laureate to win the award while imprisoned. In none of the previous cases did the prize result in the recipient’s release. Two of them remained in captivity until they died. Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win this award and the second Iranian woman, after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, who was awarded in 2003, also a human rights activist closely collaborating with Mohammadi.
Nevertheless, Narges Mohammadi stated that „the Nobel Prize only strengthens her resolve.“ „I will never stop striving for the realization of democracy, freedom, and equality,“ she said in a statement released in The New York Times. „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.“
The Nobel Committee also highlighted that the Nobel Peace Prize for Narges Mohammadi is „recognition of the hundreds of thousands of people who have demonstrated against Iran’s theocratic regime’s policies of discrimination and oppression targeting women.“
„The greatest fighters in Iran today are women; the least afraid people in Iran are women. Their energy cannot be destroyed,“ says Shirin Neshat (1957), the most internationally recognized Iranian artist who has been living in New York for decades. In her works, she most often addresses the issue of women in Iranian society and the repressive discourse of patriarchy. In her film „The Fury“, which explores the sexual exploitation of political prisoners, she points out the cruel treatment that women in Iran endure, questioning the psychological and emotional state of a woman haunted by memories of sexual abuse, torture, and rape in prison.
Narges Mohammadi graduated in physics and began her career as an engineer. However, she lost her job due to her prison sentence because, during her student days, she had already become an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights, writing for student newspapers. She was first arrested in 2011 and sentenced to multiple years in prison for her efforts to assist imprisoned activists and their families. She also worked as a journalist for several reformist publications and campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty and women’s rights. She is married to fellow activist and journalist Taghi Rahmani, who, after serving 14 years in prison in Iran, now lives in Europe with their children while Narges remained in Iran to continue her work. She has published a collection of essays titled „Reforms, Strategy, and Tactics,“ and her book „White Terror: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners“ received an award at the International Film Festival and Human Rights Forum.
Narges Mohammadi was last arrested for attending a commemoration for Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old whose death in the custody of Iran’s moral police sparked massive protests and demonstrations against the Iranian regime.