A group of organizations for the protection of women’s rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) condemned the meeting of Minister Bisera Turkovic with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, while civil protests for greater women’s rights continue in this country, accompanied by violence and murders.
The Women’s Network in BiH, a group of civil society organizations and individuals that advocate and deal with women’s human rights and the promotion of gender equality, expressed their displeasure over the meeting held in Sarajevo by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bisera Turkovic, with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, during which she put a headscarf – at a time when women’s rights activists are protesting against being punished for not wearing a headscarf in Iran.
“We strongly condemn the welcoming of the Iranian minister, and the sending of a signal that an official of a country that is currently grossly violating human rights is welcome in our country,” the Women’s Network said.
Turkovic met with Amir-Abdollahian on Tuesday, after which a press conference was held, where the friendship between the two countries was highlighted. The minister then met with the deputy speaker of the House of Peoples, Bakir Izetbegovic.
In mid-November, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on some Iranian officials and condemned the harsh reaction of the regime to the protests of citizens of this country. Since September 2022, citizens have been protesting in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, a girl who was detained by the Iranian “morality police” for improperly wearing a headscarf, which is mandatory for women in Iran.
According to the United Nations (UN) and the Human Rights Organization in Iran, between 300 and 450 people were killed during the protests. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran denied in Sarajevo that the state security forces had killed a single Iranian citizen.
The press conference, where the Iranian foreign minister blamed the United States (U.S.) for the “uproar” in relation to the current protests, and where he said that the country did not kill its citizens, Turkovic ended by putting a scarf on her head.
Activist and former member of the State Parliament, Maja Gasal-Vrazalica, condemns Turkovic‘s move and notes that several buildings of European institutions in Buxelles have the projected name of Mahsa Amini. She said: “Mrs. Turkovic did not say her name, but demonstrated putting on the headscarf, I don’t know what she wanted to achieve with that demonstration.“
Relations between the authorities of Tehran and Moscow came into focus this year also because of the war in Ukraine. The Islamic Republic of Iran has decided to sell drones to the Russian Federation, which has been invading Ukraine since February 24th, 2022. At the end of August, Minister Amir-Abdollahian visited Moscow, where he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov.
Minister Bisera Turkovic did not respond to several requests for comment from the Balkan Research Network of BiH (BIRN BiH), Detektor reports.