‘We must show solidarity with the women and people of Iran’ – Plaid MS
A Bangor woman has thanked a Plaid Cymru MS for his support for Iranian women protesting against state repression.
Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd has shown his support and solidarity with women protesting against the Iranian regime in a protest outside the Senedd.
The Senedd protest, attended by many Iranian exiles in Wales and politicians, was also attended by a Bangor woman, whose father is Iranian.
Protests have erupted in Tehran mid-September following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year old who was arrested for wearing an ‘improper’ hijab, at the hands of the Morality Police. The Iranian people have organised protests across the country, demanding their freedom of expression and their right to choose.
Protests have since been met with harsh repression from the police and security services which has led to the death of at least 200 people, 23 of which were children, and close to 1,000 casualties.
Layla Sadeghi Namaghi, born in Bangor and currently studying at Cardiff University, said: “My dad is Iranian, who came to the UK a few years after the revolution of 1979. He sacrificed a lot for us – his culture, language, and never seeing his family and friends again, never going home again. We still have many cousins, family, friends in Iran.
“I have grown up with every opportunity and human rights. I don’t live in fear for my life. I am free. My first cousins have had such a different life to me. I carry guilt over this, and how they have had to grow up and how they carry fear in their daily lives.
“We have sparse communication with the family now, due to the internet being shut off. The other day my cousin messaged me ‘the government has no mercy for anyone. I’m glad you were born outside of Iran’.
“I’m heartbroken that they’re living in this nightmare. It shouldn’t be like this. They, like all Iranians, want a normal life, they want to walk freely, be able to travel, do all the things we take for granted.
“They want women’s rights – not for women to simply be treated as property of their father or husband. They want a free Iran.
“I want a free Iran too, I want them to be safe, I want them not to live in fear. As a family our dream is to visit one day. I want to see my family, I want to hug my 103-year-old grandmother who has had to sacrifice ever having a relationship with her grandchildren. While this government is in power it will never be safe for me to go, especially after speaking out publicly now.
“I want the Welsh and UK government to release a statement strongly condemning the Iranian Government. I want them to investigate the deaths of the protesters. I want Western governments to stop supporting the Islamic Republic. With the internet off in Iran, they are shutting off their voice.
“We need to be their voice, we need to amplify it! We need to show Iranians that we hear them and we care. It gives them hope, encourages them to keep going. We must show support and solidarity.
“I also want to say a big thank you to Llyr and everyone else speaking on this issue. I know how much it means to Iranians around the world to be their voice, and to stand in solidarity with them.”
‘Support and solidarity’
Llyr Gruffydd said: “The least we can do here in Wales is show our support and solidarity with the women of Iran in their struggle against this oppressive regime. Their bravery in taking to the streets and facing brutal repression by the security forces is evident from the clips we are seeing of protests.
“I was particularly heartened to meet Layla, a young constituent of mine who has close family ties with Iran and who joined the protest. It’s vital we keep up the pressure on the Iranian regime.”
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