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Nobel Peace Prize winner's husband speaks of her dedication to human rights

Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani, husband of Iranian rights campaigner and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, speaks, flanked by their son Ali, during a press conference in Paris on October 6, 2023.
Thomas Samson
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AFP via Getty Images
Iranian journalist Taghi Rahmani, husband of Iranian rights campaigner and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, speaks, flanked by their son Ali, during a press conference in Paris on October 6, 2023.

Overwhelmed with emotion after hearing that his wife, Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, had won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, her husband Taghi Rahmani fielded media calls from his home in Paris.

He was taking the calls for Mohammadi because she is serving a lengthy prison sentence in Iran's Evin prison.

In an interview with NPR, Rahmani said that although his wife's fight for human rights and ongoing imprisonment are what won her the prize, he's happy for what the honor itself symbolizes.

"The Islamic Republic is very powerful - domestically and regionally - so the people of Iran aren't standing up to a simple state," said Rahmani.

He added, "When you take an oppressive system like this, where it enjoys the support of the minority of people, and you see so much resistance against the government, and the Nobel committee comes and highlights one aspect of this resistance, it makes us feel like our resistance, our protests, are seen by the world."

Family pictures are seen at the apartment of Narges Mohammadi's husband Taghi Rahmani Friday, Oct. 6, 2023 in Paris. Imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of her tireless campaigning for women's rights and democracy and against the death penalty. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Thibault Camus / AP
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AP
Family pictures are seen at the apartment of Narges Mohammadi's husband Taghi Rahmani Friday, Oct. 6, 2023 in Paris. Imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in recognition of her tireless campaigning for women's rights and democracy and against the death penalty. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

When asked if he's hopeful his wife will be released soon, Rahmani said that while he wishes for his wife to be freed and for the family to be reunited, he knows that his wife's struggle will be a long one.

"We have suffered through this deprivation. But people, they have their beliefs, their role models - those things are the foundations of their struggles," he said, adding that his wife's role models include Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. "When you live with these role models, you see a bigger picture, especially in the quest for freedom. And I hope she remains energetically dedicated to the cause."

FILE - Prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, center, sits next to Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, left, while attending a meeting on women's rights in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 27, 2007.
Vahid Salemi / AP
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AP
FILE - Prominent Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, center, sits next to Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, left, while attending a meeting on women's rights in Tehran, Iran, on Aug. 27, 2007.

Rahmani said his wife stands with all other imprisoned human rights activists in Iran -whether they are pro-democracy advocates, or fighting women's rights, human rights and religious freedoms.

"All of these people are different and have different perspectives, but they are united in the demands for freedom. And Narges Mohammadi has always been one of them," said Rahmani.

Kiana Rahmani, the daughter of Narges Mohammadi, attended a press conference in Paris on October 6, 2023, to celebrate her mother's Nobel Peace Prize. Narges Mohammadi, a 51-year-old journalist and activist, received the Nobel Peace Prize while she remains imprisoned due to her efforts against the oppression of women in Iran, including her activism against mandatory hijab and the death penalty.
Z.O Middle East Images / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Kiana Rahmani, the daughter of Narges Mohammadi, attended a press conference in Paris on October 6, 2023, to celebrate her mother's Nobel Peace Prize. Narges Mohammadi, a 51-year-old journalist and activist, received the Nobel Peace Prize while she remains imprisoned due to her efforts against the oppression of women in Iran, including her activism against mandatory hijab and the death penalty.

Rahmani told NPR that his wife often says she hopes her own children will forgive her for choosing the path and for fighting for the freedom of other Iranian children. Especially given that even children and teenagers are targeted by security forces.

"So even if you think you'd love for Narges to be free, but real freedom means freedom for everyone. Not just for a select few while others remain bound...and Narges won't feel free until others are free," said Rahmani.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

D. Parvaz
D. Parvaz is an editor at Weekend Edition. Prior to joining NPR, she worked at several news organizations covering wildfires, riots, earthquakes, a nuclear meltdown, elections, political upheaval and refugee crises in several countries.
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.