Twin children of jailed Iranian activist accept her Nobel Peace Prize

Twin teenage children of jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi accept her Nobel Peace Prize – as she slams ‘tyrannical and anti-women’ regime in speech read out at ceremony

The twin teenage children of jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadia have accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf in a ceremony in the Norwegian capital.

Ms Mohammadi is renowned for campaigning for women’s rights and democracy in her country, as well as fighting against the death penalty.

Ali and Kiana Rahmani, her twin 17-year-old children who live in exile in Paris with their father, were given the award at Oslo City Hall before giving the Nobel Peace Prize lecture in their mother’s name.

Ms Mohammadi, 51, was awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize in October for her decades of activism despite numerous arrests by Iranian authorities and spending years behind bars. She is currently detained in a prison in Tehran.

She denounced on Sunday a ‘tyrannical and anti-women religious’ government in Iran, in a speech delivered by her children who accepted the award in her absence. 

‘The Iranian people will dismantle obstruction and despotism through their persistence,’ Ms Mohammadi said in the speech.

At a news conference in Oslo, Kiana read out a message from her mother, in which she praised the role international media played in ‘conveying the voice of dissenters, protesters and human rights defenders to the world’.

Kiana Rahmani and Ali Rahmani pose with the award on behalf of their mother during the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Narges Mohammadi is renowned for campaigning for women’s rights and democracy in her country, as well as fighting against the death penalty

‘Iranian society needs global support and you, journalists and media professionals are our greatest and most important allies in the difficult struggle against the destructive tyranny of the Islamic Republic government. I sincerely thank you for your efforts, for all you’ve done for us,’ Ms Mohammadi said in her note.

Kiana said she held little hope of seeing her mother again.

‘Maybe I’ll see her in 30 or 40 years but I think I won’t see her again. But that doesn’t matter because my mother will always live on in my heart, values that are worth fighting for,’ she said.

Ms Mohammadi’s brother and husband told reporters in Oslo that she planned to go on a hunger strike on Sunday in solidarity with the Baha’i Faith religious minority in Iran.

Her husband Taghi Rahmani previously said that he has not been able to see his wife for 11 years, and their children have not seen their mother for seven.

Ms Mohammadi played a leading role in protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year while in police custody for allegedly violating the country’s strict headscarf law which forces women to cover their hair and entire bodies.

Ali Rahmani gives part of the Nobel Peace Prize lecture in his mother’s name 

The ceremony took place in Oslo City Hall this weekend 

Iranian authorities banned members of Ms Amini’s family from traveling to accept the European Union’s top human rights prize – the Sakharov Prize For Freedom Of Thought – on her behalf, the US-based HRANA said late on Saturday.

Ms Mohammadi is the 19th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the second Iranian woman after human rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the award in 2003.

Mohammadi is the fifth laureate in the more than 120-year history of the Nobel Peace Prize to receive the award while detained.

She follows Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, China’s Liu Xiaobo and Belarus’s Ales Beliatski.

‘Narges Mohammadi’s struggle is also comparable to that of Albert Lutuli, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, which took place over a period of more than 30 years before the apartheid system in South Africa came to an end,’ the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said in a speech.

Arrested 13 times, sentenced five times to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes, Mohammadi has spent much of the past two decades in and out of jail.

Taghi Rahmani, husband of the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi, signs the guest book at the Nobel Institute in Oslo

Her twin children, who have not seen their mother for almost nine years, don’t know if they’ll ever see her alive again.

‘Personally I’m rather pessimistic,’ Kiana Mohammadi told reporters on Saturday, while her brother Ali said he remained ‘very, very optimistic’.

Protests in Iran triggered by Amini’s death have been severely repressed.

The Iran Human Rights group (IHR) says 551 demonstrators, including dozens of women and children, have been killed by security forces, and thousands have been arrested.

On Saturday, the lawyer for Amini’s family said her parents and brother, who were due to receive the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought on Amini’s behalf at a ceremony on December 13, was being prohibited from leaving Iran.

The laureates of the other Nobel prizes, in literature, chemistry, medicine, physics and economics, were presented their awards by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at a separate ceremony in Sweden, before heading to a lavish banquet at Stockholm’s City Hall.

The rest of the Nobel prizes are set to be handed out in separate ceremonies in Stockholm later on Sunday.

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