Ensiyeh Khazali, Iran's Vice President for Women and Family Affairs

Controversy Surrounds Iranian VP's Visit To UN Women's Summit

Monday, 03/11/2024

The presence of Iran’s Vice President at the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women has sparked controversy in light of the regime's systemic oppression of women and girls.

Ensieh Khazali arrived in New York on Sunday amid Iran's dismal human rights record, including its treatment of women and suppression of dissent.

Khazali's agenda at the UN summit is to highlight the plight of Palestinian women in Gaza but in the light of Iran's oppression of women and girls, the move has drawn widespread criticism, with activists condemning the US State Department for granting Khazali a visa despite Iran's human rights violations.

Critics argue that granting a visa to Khazali, who has been implicated in supporting oppressive policies such as child marriage, undermines the principles of human rights and sends the wrong message to Tehran amid wider criticism of the Biden administration for being too lenient on the regime.

The death of Mahsa Amini in morality policy custody in 2022 sparked international outrage and protests, shedding light on the brutality of Iran's religious police and the systemic violence inflicted on women in the country.

It was last year that former VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung and her crew faced a harrowing ordeal just one day after conducting a challenging interview with Ensieh Khazali in Tehran. They were held at gunpoint by Iran's security forces, forced to surrender their footage and belongings, and subsequently instructed to leave the country.

"We found our van suddenly surrounded by a team of Iran's security forces. A gun was held to our head, and everything was taken from us. Later that night while in detention, they told us they suspected we were working under false pretenses. The next day we were instructed to leave the country," she recalled in her report from Iran.

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