Thank you very much.
My first statement would be that I am extremely concerned about the upsurge in arrests of people who are people political activists. When I say “political activists” that doesn't mean they belong to political parties, but they are people who are politically aware. Obviously women are among those people who are under arrest, and they are political prisoners.
If you want me to focus just on women's rights, I am happy to do that, but I think it goes hand in hand with the overall political and human rights situation in Iran. You can't just pluck it out and say, “Yes, women's rights are suffering deplorably.” So are minority rights. So are ethnic rights.
It is the whole atmosphere of fear that prevails there, and as the May election comes nearer and nearer, dissenting voices are being thwarted and people are being tortured. People are being harassed. People are being picked up. But if you want me to focus purely on women's rights, I'm happy to do that too.
This is a story that is not just about current affairs. This has being going on for some time, and the latest thing is that women who want to contest the election for President are obviously not allowed.
This is only symbolic of what is happening to the vast majority of women in Iran, where you cannot even decide what kind of dress to wear, and interaction between women and men is very restricted. There is not just a glass ceiling;. there is an iron ceiling for women's upward mobility.
In every field of life women are controlled. Family laws are very controlling. I can give you many examples of how women are being harassed and how women are being persecuted in many ways, simply because they happen to be women.