Excerpts of speech of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Former Prime Minister of Denmark, at the Free Iran 2022 is as follows:
Dear all, what an honor it is to be with you here today. I’m actually humbled because I know how much so many of you in Ashraf-3 had to sacrifice to be part of the endeavor to have a free and democratic Iran. As many of you know, I grew up in Denmark. I was the first female prime minister. I grew up without violence, and I grew up without any religious leaders telling me how to live my life.
Of course, I had my fair share of opposition and misogyny, but I never had to summon the courage that you have to be part of fighting for a free Iran. So perhaps I’m mostly here to tell you how you inspire the rest of the world. Your fight for democracy and human rights will not only change Iran today but will change Iran for the future and will, of course, change Iran’s standing in the world.
43 years ago, the Iranian people overthrew the Shah’s regime. They did that because they wanted to move to a system where the Iranian people can elect their own leaders, a system based on democracy and freedom. And therefore, it is absurd to think that the Iranian people would go back to the Shah’s dictatorship. The Iranian people reject the Shah’s dictatorship. They reject religious dictatorship.
They just want a free and democratic Iran. It’s understandable. It’s also understandable for everyone who works for freedom that Iran must protest when European nations are playing with the idea of introducing new laws and treaties that might grant impunity to state actors from Iran who have submitted serious crimes in Europe. I understand that you are truly worried about this, and I stand behind you in wanting to protest against such treaties.
I listened to the debate in Europe and the US. I’m not sure how familiar people in this part of the world are with the Iranian opposition. And I don’t think they know that a remarkable woman, Maryam Rajavi, is leading the democratic opposition.
And I’m not sure that people understand that there is actually a very comprehensive Ten Point Plan for a more democratic Iran. And I urge everyone who is a democrat to endorse and support that plan. It is truly impressive.
What you’re showing us is that the democratic movement to have a freer Iran is a very diverse group of people, and that women play an important part in that endeavor. You are showing us that female power is enormous, and that is why misogynist leaders across Europe and across the world get so nervous about female empowerment and female agency.
And that’s why dictators go out of their way to bring women down before they even get started. There’s no doubt that Iranian girls and women have been the prime victims of the misogynist ruling in Iran. Day in and day out, they had been deprived of their most basic rights.
I would say to all of you fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran that the easiest for all of you would have been to stay home to let fear overcome you. But you Iranian men and women have chosen a different path. Not only have you not submitted to the regime, but you have turned into a force for change in Iran.
When we look at the women, I am convinced that women have asserted themselves, and they know that their rights will only be achieved with real political change in Iran. Therefore, in the international community, we need to express clear solidarity with the Iranian women in their struggle for their rights.
But beyond that, the international community should stand with the desire of the Iranian people for a democratic, secular republic. We need to stand with you. I understand that change can only come from the Iranian people within Iran.
The world needs to stand with your struggles. They are all in the conference room. I am convinced you are the future of Iran. We should all take inspiration from you. Thank you very much.