Marjan: Iranian icon and symbol of Resistance passes away

Marjan: Iranian icon and symbol of Resistance passes away

It is with great sadness that the people of Iran heard about the passing of Marjan – a well-loved Iranian artist and singer. She died on the evening of Friday 5th June from complications after a surgical operation. The cause of death has been noted as heart failure.

Marjan, a former political prisoner, was seen as a major source of inspiration to the people of Iran and many considered her to be a voice of the Resistance. Her name, her memory, her work, and her resistance will be remembered by the people for many years to come, and she will continue to inspire many, particularly Iranian women and girls.

The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has written a piece commemorating her life. The committee described Marjan as “one of the brave and liberated women of Iran”, highlighting that she refused to submit to the mullahs. Instead she “decided to fight and stand up to the regime” and “until her last breath, she proudly endeavored in this path”.

Marjan, born on 14th July 1948 as Shahla Safi Zamir, started her working life as a radio announcer while she was a teenager. She then found work as an actress before becoming a popular singer. Like many of her peers, Marjan was not allowed to continue her work as a singer after the 1979 Revolution.

Just a few years after the Revolution, in July 1982, she had her properties confiscated and was arrested and subsequently imprisoned, simply because she was a supporter of the main opposition to the Iranian regime – the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).

Speaking about her time in prison, Marjan said that she was extremely impressed by the courage and resolve of the young women that had also been imprisoned – women as young as 17, or even as young as 10 in other prison wards. She said that it changed her life.

When she was first taken to prison, she was put into solitary confinement because her charge was deemed serious. She was tortured and badly mistreated there. Her husband was also thrown into jail at the same time.

When she was released from prison she moved to the United States, fearing that her life would forever be in danger if she remained in Iran. She lived in Los Angeles where she spent the rest of her life. 

During interviews, Marjan spoke about the regime that rejected art and music. She said that the regime did not tolerate the art community and it did its best to have it “annihilated”. She said the regime was “at war with artists and particularly with women”.

While living outside Iran, Marjan remained in contact with the National Council of Resistance of Iran and dedicated much of the rest of her life to pushing the Resistance towards regime change and freedom in Iran. Many of the songs that she sang were to do with the Resistance movement which has been cherished by the people of Iran – especially young females.

During an interview with a Los Angeles publication, Marjan said that she is going to use her voice as her weapon until the day the people of Iran are free.