IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


7th October, 2023 International Relations

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  • Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian activist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2023.
  • The Nobel Committee recognized her dedication to fighting against the oppression of women in Iran and her relentless advocacy for human rights and freedom. 


  • It is awarded annually to individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to promoting peace and fraternity between nations, reducing standing armies, and advancing the cause of peace.

Early Life and Background

  • Narges Mohammadi was born in Iran in 1972. Her family's history is deeply rooted in political activism, starting with their involvement in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which ultimately led to the establishment of an Islamic republic after the monarchy's downfall.
  • Mohammadi's journey into activism was profoundly influenced by two significant childhood experiences. Her mother's regular visits to her imprisoned brother left a lasting impression, as did her exposure to daily television announcements of executed prisoners.

Transition to Activism

  • From a young age, Narges Mohammadi was actively engaged in various causes, including advocating for women's rights in Iran and protesting against the death penalty and harsh sentences for political protesters.
  • She worked as an engineer in Tehran but was eventually dismissed from her job due to government directives.

Involvement in Human Rights Organizations

  • In the 2000s, she became part of the Center for Human Rights Defenders in Iran, founded by the renowned Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, with a mission to abolish the death penalty.
  • Shirin Ebadi herself received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts in defending human rights in Iran.

Multiple Arrests and Imprisonments

  • Narges Mohammadi faced her first arrest in 2011 and has had multiple encounters with the Iranian judiciary.
  • She has been convicted five times, arrested 13 times, sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison, and received 154 lashes. Additional judicial cases were opened against her in 2023, potentially leading to more convictions.
  • Even while incarcerated, she organized protests alongside fellow women prisoners, standing up against the Iranian government.
  • In 2022, she authored a book titled 'White Torture,' recounting her experiences in solitary confinement and including interviews with other Iranian women who had also undergone such punishment.

Previous Awards and Recognition

  • Narges Mohammadi received prominent awards in the West for her activism, including the 2023 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award and the 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
  • In 2022, she was featured in the BBC's list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world.

Legacy of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

  • Narges Mohammadi joins the ranks of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureates, with Shirin Ebadi being the first to receive the award in 2003 for her efforts in promoting democracy and human rights.
  • Both women have faced persecution and imprisonment for their work in defending the rights of women, children, and political activists.

About the Prize

  • The Nobel Peace Prize, established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, is one of the five prestigious Nobel Prizes, alongside those in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature.
  • Since its inception in March 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded annually, with some exceptions, to individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to promoting peace, fraternity between nations, and the reduction or abolition of standing armies.

Selection Process

  • The Nobel Peace Prize recipient is chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway. Since 2020, the prize has been awarded in the Atrium of the University of Oslo.
  • In the past, the prize ceremony was held in various locations, including Oslo City Hall (1990–2019), the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), and the Parliament (1901–1904).


  • Due to its inherently political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has been the subject of numerous controversies throughout its history.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee invites qualified individuals to submit nominations annually. Nominators include members of national assemblies and governments, members of international courts, academics, previous recipients, and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee itself.

Nominations and Secrecy

  • Nominations are submitted by the beginning of February in the award year, and committee members can submit nominations until the first Committee meeting after this deadline.
  • The statutes of the Nobel Foundation prohibit the public disclosure of nominations, considerations, or investigations related to awarding the prize for at least 50 years after it has been awarded. This confidentiality is a hallmark of the Nobel Peace Prize process.

Selection and Announcement

  • Nominations are initially considered by the Nobel Committee, leading to the creation of a shortlist of candidates. This shortlist is then reviewed by permanent advisers to the Nobel Institute, including its Director and Research Director, along with Norwegian academics with expertise in relevant subject areas.
  • The Committee seeks a unanimous decision, but this is not always achievable. Typically, the final decision is reached in mid-September, and the announcement is made in early October.

Award Ceremony and Medal

  • The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in the presence of the King of Norway and the Norwegian royal family on December 10th each year, coinciding with the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.
  • The Nobel laureate receives a diploma, a medal, and a document confirming the prize amount, which was worth 9 million SEK as of 2019.
  • The ceremony's venue has changed over the years but has been held at Oslo City Hall since 1990.

Design of the Nobel Peace Prize Medal

  • The medal for the Peace Prize was designed by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland in 1901. It features a unique profile sculpture of Alfred Nobel.
  • The reverse side of the medal portrays three men in a 'fraternal bond,' along with the inscription 'Pro pace et fraternitate gentium' ("For the peace and brotherhood of men").
  • The medal's edge is inscribed with the year of its awarding, the name of the recipient, and "Prix Nobel de la Paix."


  • The Nobel Committee's recognition of Narges Mohammadi's unwavering dedication to human rights and freedom shines a spotlight on her remarkable activism in the face of significant challenges and adversity. Her story stands as a testament to the enduring struggle for justice and equality in Iran and worldwide.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize, with its history of honoring individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing peace and human rights, underscores the global significance of Mohammadi's contributions and the ongoing quest for a more peaceful and just world.


Q. Which of the following statements about the Nobel Peace Prize is correct?

  1. The Nobel Peace Prize is presented annually on December 25th.
  2. Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize can be made public immediately after submission.
  3. The Nobel Peace Prize medal features a unique profile sculpture of Alfred Nobel.


a) Only statement 1 is correct.

b) Only statements 2 and 3 are correct.

c) Only statement 3 is correct.

d) None of the statements are correct.

Answer: c)