A few days before the world celebrated International Women’s Day, a group of courageous and militant Iranian women gathered peacefully in front of the right-wing clerical regime’s Revolutionary Courts to express their solidarity with other women imprisoned for human rights activities. They were also protesting the antihuman rights measures of these Revolutionary Courts and the trial of five of women activists arrested during demonstrations last June.

The regime met their peaceful protest with a vicious assault, and many representatives of progressive Iranian women’s movements were arrested. The detained women started a hunger strike to protest their arrests and their captors’ actions.

“Suppression, assault, harassment and torture of those campaigning for freedom and people’s rights is a distinctive characteristic of the despotic and medieval regime in our country,” the Tudeh Party (Communist Party) of Iran said in a statement, adding, “The aim is the restoration of gender apartheid based on medieval ideas.”

Women’s groups in Iran play a significant role in the development of reform and are in the forefront of the struggle for people’s rights under the current repressive regime. Their actions have fortified the hatred and hostility of the reactionaries against the militant women of that country.

The Women’s Equality Commission of the Communist Party USA joins with the Tudeh Party of Iran in strongly condemning the brutal attack on this peaceful gathering. The women were released on bail, but are subject to re-arrest and future punishment.

The world must respond strongly to this violation of basic human rights and call for an end to these assaults on women’s groups fighting for justice in Iran.

We call upon all progressive movements worldwide to join us in asking the Iranian government to unconditionally release these women from any charges stemming from peaceful protest and to support the growing women’s rights movement in Iran.

Carolyn Trowbridge chairs the Women’s Equality Commission of the Communist Party USA.