Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Saturday, 27 October 2007 16:03 UK

Demo over Iran women 'oppression'

The rally in Oxford on Saturday
The women support controversial Iranian activist Maryam Rajavi

A demonstration has taken place in Oxfordshire by women opposed to what they say are human rights abuses and the oppression of women in Iran.

The Association of Democratic Iranian Women in Oxfordshire held a rally in Broad Street, Oxford, on Saturday.

A spokeswoman said: "Public hangings, executions, stoning, arbitrary arrests, especially among youths and women, has taken an unprecedented pace."

The group is calling on the EU to "put an end to the policy of appeasement".

"Since [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad has come to power, more than 600 people have been executed.

'Peaceful action'

"There are currently 71 minors on death row and eight women are awaiting stoning to death, according to Amnesty International," the spokeswoman continued.

She urged Britain and the rest of the EU to "support the Iranian people and their resistance for democratic change."

The group said they supported a call by controversial Iranian political and women's rights activist, Maryam Rajavi.

Mrs Rajavi is a figurehead of the Mujahideen al-Khalq Organisation (MKO), who made trips to Western cities in the mid-1990s to address Iranian exiles and canvas support.

But after it was labelled "terrorist" by the US State Department in 1997 and the EU in 2000, foreign "appearances" by Mrs Rajavi and her husband abroad were made by video.

The European Court of Justice overturned the group's terrorist designation in December 2006.

Mr Ahmadinejad became president in June 2005, defeating his rival, the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to become Iran's first non-cleric president for 24 years.

He was previously Tehran's conservative mayor and promised an administration of "peace and moderation".



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Country profile: Iran
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Profile: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
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