Oct 20 (Reuters) – Canada’s foreign minister vowed to support “the incredibly brave women of Iran” as she hosted a virtual meeting with her female counterparts around the world to discuss the crackdown against protesters in Iran.
“No longer will they tolerate the regime’s vision of the role of women in society or how women should dress and behave. In them we see our humanity. We have a moral obligation to support them,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.
The ministers will address the unrest ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death last month in Iran while in police custody. The incident ignited one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
Their gathering “shows global solidarity for Iranian women and tells the Iranian regime that the world is watching,” she said. “We have a responsibility to help amplify the voices of women in Iran.”
Female foreign ministers from Germany, Chile, New Zealand and Norway were expected to attend, while another French official was expected to represent Paris, according to a Canadian government source.
It was unclear if the United States, whose top diplomat is Antony Blinken, would be represented by another official.
Other countries expected to participate were Albania, Andorra, the Central African Republic, Chile, Iceland, Kosovo, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mongolia and Panama.
The female officials were set to hear from women of Iranian heritage and to discuss ways to coordinate efforts supporting Iranians.
Canada, the United States and others have already sanctioned Tehran, and Ottawa on Wednesday announced additional sanctions.
The current unrest in Iran has raised international concerns as talks on Iran‘s nuclear capabilities stall and Tehran has moved to support Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.
Iran has accused countries supporting protesters of meddling in its internal affairs while its religious leaders have sought to portray the unrest as part of a breakaway uprising by the Kurdish minority threatening the nation’s unity.
Amini, who hailed from Iran‘s Kurdistan region, died Sept. 16 after being detained by Tehran’s morality police over her attire.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)