Iranian activist challenges Biden's support of women fighting to end the 'gender apartheid' regime

Iranian dissident urged world leaders to isolate Tehran like they 'isolate Putin'

Iranian journalist and outspoken women's rights activist Masih Alinejad called on President Biden to "isolate" Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and take a stand in support of protesters fighting to end the "gender apartheid" in the country.

In an appearance on "The Story" Monday, Alinejad applauded the U.S. Soccer Federation for displaying Iran's national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic in support of women fighting for their freedom.

"I have to say I’m thankful to the U.S. federation for doing that because that is not the flag of the Iranian people," Alinejad said. "It is the Islamic Republic's flag and… under that flag, people are getting raped. People are getting tortured. People are getting killed, teenagers, children."

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Demonstrators rally outside the White House to protest against the Iranian regime, in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. 

Demonstrators rally outside the White House to protest against the Iranian regime, in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

But, she told host Martha MacCallum, the symbolic move flies in the face of Biden's commitment to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which would embolden Tehran and the Islamic Republic.

"It is very clear. Iranian women want to get rid of the gender apartheid regime," she said. "Biden, let’s just go back in history. When Biden was really young, he was pro-banning South Africa. Why? Because he was against apartheid. What is different [here]?"

Protesters have taken the streets for months in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini over her refusal to wear a hijab. According to human rights activists in the country, the protests have seen at least 450 killed and more than 18,000 arrested.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16:  Journalist and Author Masih Alinejad speaks onstage during the WICT Leadership Conference at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on October 16, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Women in Cable Telecommunications)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16:  Journalist and Author Masih Alinejad speaks onstage during the WICT Leadership Conference at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on October 16, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Women in Cable Telecommunications) (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Women in Cable Telecommunications)

Alinejad called on U.S. officials and other world leaders to support Iranian citizens protesting the regime's attack on women's rights and acknowledge the "gender apartheid" that has robbed women of their freedoms.

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"I want the U.S. government, I want the leaders of G-7, the democratic countries that when it comes to gender apartheid, this is a bipartisan issue," she said.

"Is it difficult to understand? Imagine every day I go here in the streets and say 7-year-old girl, you’re not allowed to choose what you want to wear. Girls from the age of 7 are not allowed to go to school if they don’t cover their hair. In Afghanistan, girls are not allowed to go to school because they are girls," she continued.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on March 21, 2022. Photo provided by the Iranian Supreme Leader's official website. (Official website of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on March 21, 2022. Photo provided by the Iranian Supreme Leader's official website. (Official website of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP) (AP)

"Women are not allowed to go to the stadium to watch the football game. How would you feel, if in America [they're] saying you cannot go and watch football because you’re a woman? How would you feel?" she said.

"This is the reality in Iran."

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Alinejad's comments come hours after the niece of Khamenei released a video urging the public to pressure governments to cut ties with Tehran over its violent suppression of the demonstrations.

Alinejad said the video, which landed the Supreme Leader's niece in prison, will cause an "earthquake in Iran," adding that she hopes global leaders will use the opportunity to isolate Khamanei the way "you isolate [Russian President Vladimir] Putin."