Courageous and Principled: Shiva Nazar Ahari

Women have always been at the forefront of the struggle for a democratic Iran in which the rule of law is supreme and no one is discriminated against based on gender, ethnicity, religion, or social class. This was true both before the 1979 Revolution, and, as I will explain in a forthcoming article, after it, as well. In the 1980s, hundreds of young women who were members of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO) or belonged to leftist secular groups were killed in clashes with the security forces or executed. I make no judgment as to whether what they were doing was right or wrong, but it certainly takes deep conviction and courage to be willing to sacrifice one’s life in the struggle for one’s ideals.
Even after the end of the Iran-Iraq War and the execution of over 4,500 political prisoners, including many women, during the spring and summer of 1988, their struggle never ceased. The infamous Chain Murders that claimed the lives of a large number of political dissidents and intellectuals took at least nine female victims. The most prominent was Parvaneh Majd Eskandari, widely known as Parvaneh Forouhar. She was the wife of Dariush Forouhar, the nationalist political dissident who was active against Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and served in the provisional government of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, but turned against the Islamic Republic. The couple were murdered on the evening of November 21, 1998.

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