Iranian women have been at the forefront of the nationwide protest movement triggered by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morally police.
Many of them are among the thousands of victims of the brutal state crackdown on the demonstrations calling for more freedoms and women’s rights. Nearly 500 people have been killed and more than 18,000 have been detained by the security forces.
Voices of support are raising from across the world, with prominent activists using their notoriety to raise awareness about the situation in Iran and denounce the violence against women and other freedom fighters there.
In Argentina, a lawmaker of the Left Front coalition and human rights defender Romina Del Plá recently presented a draft resolution before parliament to support the women-led protest movement, demand justice for Amini, and condemn the death sentence handed to Iranian football player Amir Nasr-Azadani.
The 50-year-old teacher, trade unionist and Trotskyist militant spoke to IranWire about her tireless work as a defender of the rights of women and workers in Argentina.
"The situation of women in Iran is terrible, but from Argentina, we want to tell them that they are not alone,” Del Plá said, urging people around the world to join an “international campaign in solidarity with the people of Iran, their women and their rebellion."
Del Plá’s father, Miguel, was a trade unionist considered a "revolutionary" by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. He was arrested in 1982 and tortured before being released a few months later.
Once she graduated from university, Del Plá began working as a teacher, which she said allowed her to understand Argentina’s social realities. Years later, she became the leader of the National Workers’ Plenary, a group linked to the Labour Party, and had a key role in the struggle for abortion rights.
"I think that beyond what we can contribute personally, the women’s struggle in Argentina and several other countries, their massive street presence, inspired thousands of women to go out and fight” for their rights, she said.
According to the politician, the Green Tide movement to legalize abortion in Argentina succeeded “through fighting, debate, protests and through the development of a massive campaign in schools, universities and workplaces."
She insisted that the fight against all forms of violence in Argentina must continue, including “hunger, the obscurantism of the churches, daily femicide.”
“We must continue to organise ourselves against this social and political regime that perpetuates the subjugation of women, job insecurity and informal work."
In Argentina, women’s incomes are, on average, one-quarter lower than men’s, they have the highest unemployment rates, and they are the majority in the informal labour market.
In Iran, Del Plá denounced the “criminal” clerical regime which she said “seeks to instil terror to confront a legitimate popular rebellion.”
She called on “all women and workers to add their voice in solidarity with the people of Iran” and against the use of death penalty against the protesters.
At least 100 protesters are “at risk of execution, death penalty charges or sentences,” according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights group.
"International solidarity among the people who are fighting is the way out,” Del Plá said.
“We want to raise our voice for women's rights worldwide and against the destruction of the living conditions of the working class. Justice for Mahsa Amini!"