Children of jailed Iranian women’s rights activist accept her Nobel Peace Prize

Children of Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi have accepted her Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf while the laureate serves a 10-year prison sentence in Tehran.

Ms Mohammadi, 51, won this year’s prize for her work opposing the oppression of women in Iran.

Her teenage twin children read out a speech, smuggled from prison, denouncing the country’s “tyrannical” government at an award ceremony in Oslo on Sunday.

“The Iranian people, with perseverance, will overcome repression and authoritarianism,” the speech read. “Have no doubt, this is certain.”

A prominent human rights activist for several years, Ms Mohammadi has been in jail almost constantly since 2010 and has been arrested 13 times, convicted five times and sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison.

She is currently serving a sentence for “spreading propaganda” in the notorious Evin prison, and last month announced the beginning of a hunger strike.

In Ms Mohammadi’s speech, delivered in French by her 17-year-old children, Kiana and Ali Rahmani, she said: “I write this message from behind the high, cold walls of a prison” – praising young Iranians for having “transformed the streets and public spaces into a place of widespread civil resistance.”

Kiana Rahmani and Ali Rahmani stand next to the Nobel award for their mother (Photo: Frederik Varfjell/NTB/AFP via Getty)

Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after allegedly not wearing the hijab in 2022, Iran has witnessed some of its largest protests since at least 2009.

“The resistance is alive and the struggle is not weakening,” Ms Mohammadi’s speech added. “Resistance and non-violence are our best strategies.

“It is the same difficult path that Iranians have walked until today, thanks to their historical consciousness and their collective will.”

The teenagers collected their mother’s prize, worth 11 million Swedish crowns (about £837,000), while an empty chair, marking her absence, was placed on the podium between the children.

The ceremony in Oslo’s City Hall was attended by several hundred guests and saw other Nobel prizes for literature, science and economics being accepted.

Ms Mohammadi’s husband, Mr Rahmani, has said his wife had previously written a letter to her children, asking them to “forgive her” for not being able to “be a mother to them”.

Iran’s foreign ministry claimed earlier in the year that the Nobel award was “biased”, toeing the line of “the interventionist and anti-Iran policies of some European countries”.