Iranian dissident Ebadi and European Parliament denounce Iranian ayatollahs

Delegation for relations with Iran - FEMM joint meeting Exchange of views with 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin EBADI on the situation of women in Iran

Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has said in a speech to the European Parliament that Iran's Islamic Republic cannot be reformed, but that the country needs a new constitution.

In Iran, demonstrations have been repeated in recent months against the clerical system and the repression of democratic forces.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and the Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti were invited to address the plenary session of the European Parliament.

Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 20 years ago for her work for democracy and human rights in Iran, especially the rights of women and children. Samantha Cristoforetti is a European Space Agency astronaut and the first female Chief Commander of the International Space Station Expedition 68.

Ebadi pleaded in Strasbourg for a regime change in her country. She called for a new constitution that would allow for sweeping reforms. Her reference to the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement was applauded by many MEPs. 

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Union Commission, praised Ebadi's work for democracy and human rights, and praised the courage of Iranian women, saying their struggle serves as an "inspiration to women around the world". 

Protests against Iran's ayatollahs have flared up again following the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody in September 2022. Amini was arrested for allegedly wearing the obligatory headscarf incorrectly. Security forces brutally suppressed the protest movement, killing more than 520 protesters and illegally detaining more than 19,000, activists say.

Following unlawful detentions and biased trials, the judiciary has handed down harsh sentences, including the death penalty, against protesters.