Iranian New Zealanders and supporters from around the country have come to Wellington today to join a rally drawing attention to ongoing human rights abuses in their homeland.

Waves of protests have been met with violent crackdowns by the Iranian regime since September, following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by morality police for breaking the strict rules on hijabs.

Speaking this morning from the picket line outside the Iranian embassy in Hataitai, Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa spokesperson Hanna Habibi said they wanted the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to know that “the world is watching”.

“We are sending them a message that this is not a legal state from Iranians’ viewpoint. Their legitimacy is long gone as far as we’re concerned and we do not see them as our representative, our government. We will continue the fight until we win.”

Their other goal was to spur the New Zealand government to take strong sanctions against Iran, she said.

The government’s move in October to suspend its bilateral Human Rights Dialogue with Iran was “just a symbolic gesture”, she said.

“We’re not asking them to wage war, we’re asking them to stop holding negotiations, talks, or political relations with this murderous brutal regime.”

The travel bans against senior Iranian leaders “meant nothing”, as they were unlikely to want to visit New Zealand.

The government should instead cut diplomatic ties completely, she said.

“This open door will do nothing for Iranian people and it will only benefit the regime – the New Zealand government keeps repeating they want to leave that door open, at the very least they can recall New Zealand’s ambassador in Tehran.”

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