A Human Rights Lawyer in based Iran, writing anonymously.
Dr. Abdol-Karim Lahidji received his doctorate in legal studies from Tehran University in 1965. His interest in human rights advocacy began in high school and intensified while he was attending law school. In 1977, he established the Iranian Association of Jurists (IAJ) and the Iranian Association for Liberty and Human Rights (IALHR) with the purpose of promoting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the society at large. After the Revolution, he was among the first ones to condemn the executions and other violations of human rights by the new regime. Exiled in France in 1982, Dr. Lahidji established the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) in order to expose the Islamic Republic’s human rights record. In 1984, LDDHI joined the Europe based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) where he has been elected vice-president for five consecutive terms. Addressing a variety of human rights and legal issues, Dr. Lahidji has lectured at dozens of universities and civic associations throughout Europe and North America and has written three books and more than a hundred articles for a number of Persian publications and web sites in exile. In 1990, Dr. Lahidji was the recipient of Human Rights Watch award for outstanding monitors of human rights in the world.
Dr. Abdolsattar Doshouki is the Head of the Baluchestan Research Centre based in London, UK. Born in Chabahar, Iran, he began his efforts as a political activist while a student in Tehran. In 1977 he founded the Association of Baluch residents in central Tehran. Soon after the establishment of the Islamic Republic he was expelled from university. He returned to Cha Bahar to work as a teacher but he was expelled from employment. He moved to the UK and completed his graduate studies at Leeds University. He became a founding member of the Baluchestan United Front in Iran in 2003. He is an outspoken defender of the rights of the Baluch communities in Iran, Pakistan and throughout the Middle East.
Adam Hug joined the Foreign Policy Centre as Policy Director in June 2008. He oversees the FPC's work on the EU, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He is the FPC staff member responsible for the management of the Iran Human Rights Review project. His personal research focus is on the promotion of human rights, political and institutional reform in the Caucasus & Central Asia, Turkey, Israel/Palestine and Iran. He also explores European Union foreign and neighbourhood policy, areas for EU reform and Britain's relationship with Europe.
Dr Ahmed Shaheed is Lecturer in Human Rights in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex and the current UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Dr Shaheed is an internationally recognised expert on foreign policy, international diplomacy, democratisation and human rights reform especially in Muslim States. He has twice held the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives, a position he used to promote human rights standards and norms. During his time in government, he played a leading role in the Maldives democratic transition and in its human rights reform process over a period of transition from a thirty-year-old autocracy with widespread human rights abuses, to a Muslim democracy which, in 2010, became a Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council with a record number of votes. In April 2009, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy in Washington presented him with the “Muslim Democrat of the Year Award,” and in 2010, the President of Albania awarded him the “Medal of Gratitude” for his contribution to peace and human rights in the Balkans. The UN Human Rights Council appointed Dr Shaheed to the office of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in June 2011, and he began his mandate on 1 August, a role he held until November 2016. He has since been appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Dr Shaheed is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Interfaith Dialogue established by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect. He is the founding Chair of the Geneva-based human rights think-tank, Universal Rights Group.
Ali Ansari is Professor of Iranian History and Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews. He is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and President of the British Institute for Persian Studies. He has authored several books including: The Politics of Nationalism in Modern Iran CUP, 2012, Crisis of Authority: Iran's 2009 Presidential Election (Chatham House, 2010).
Ali Arab is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of Georgetown University. He joined Georgetown University after completing his doctoral degree in statistics at University of Missouri-Columbia (2007). His methodological research is in spatio-temporal and spatial statistics, and hierarchical Bayesian modeling. He is interested in applications of statistics in the environment and climate change, ecology, epidemiology, science and human rights, and risk and reliability analysis. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals in statistics, ecology, environmental studies and engineering. He has also published articles in the Huffington Post and the Amstat News on topics related to science and human rights.
Ali Sheikholeslami is London correspondent for Euronews. He has worked for Bloomberg as an Iran reporter and the Independent as a blogger. He is an award-winning writer and his articles and fiction have been published in Iran, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Britain.
Ali Shirazi (pen name) lectures on human rights law in Iran.
Anna Enayat was a lecturer in sociology at the Faculty of Economics of Tehran University where she taught the sociology of economic life and the sociology of development. She is a Senior Common Room member of St Antony’s College Oxford and from 1993-1998 Editorial Director at I. B. Tauris Publishers. For more than a decade she has been a recognised expert on the social, political and human rights background to Iranian refugee cases heard by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal where her reports have covered a range of topics including the political situation in Iran, the position and treatment of political dissenters and of various social groups including women and religious ethnic and sexual minorities.
Arash Adibzadeh is a Sports Journalist and owns a film production company in Paris. Arash is also a regular producer with Radio France Internationale’s Persian program.
Araz Fanni is an expert and lecturer in international relations based in Sweden. A former political prisoner in Iran, Fanni began his efforts as an Iranian human rights activist in 1998. He is a member of Amnesty International in Sweden and helps coordinate its efforts regarding human rights in the Middle East.
Arzoo Osanloo is an Associate Professor in the Law, Societies, and Justice Program and the Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Washington, Seattle. She holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University and a JD from The American University, Washington College of Law. Her research and teaching focus on the intersections of law and cultural practice, especially with respect to human rights. Her book, The Politics of Women’s Rights in Iran (Princeton University Press, 2009), analyses the politicisation of 'rights talk' and women’s subjectivities in Iran. She is currently working on a second manuscript that examines the Muslim mandates of forgiveness, compassion, and mercy as they take shape in Iran’s criminal justice system. Her publications appear in numerous edited volumes and academic journals, including American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, and Iranian Studies. Prior to her academic work, she worked as an immigration and asylum lawyer.
Augusto Lopez-Claros became the Director of Global Indicators Group at the World Bank Group in March 2011. Previously he was Chief Economist and Director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication, as well as a number of regional economic reports. Before joining the Forum he was Executive Director with Lehman Brothers (London) and Senior International Economist. He was the International Monetary Fund’s resident representative in the Russian Federation between 1992-95.
Ava Homa is a critically acclaimed writer, editor and public speaker. Born and raised in the Kurdish region of Iran, she received a Master’s Degree in English Language and Literature in Tehran, another Master's Degree in Creative Writing from University of Windsor, Canada, and a diploma in Editing from George Brown College, Toronto. Homa’s stories and articles have appeared in various publications across Canada, United States, and England. She recently completed her historical novel Many Cunning Passages. She is an editor for Boularderie Island Press and Kurdistan24, the second vice chair of the National Council of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and the North American Director of Association of Human Rights for Kurdistan of Iran (KMMK-G).
Azadeh Davachi is a PhD student in Post Colonial And Iranian Women’s Literary Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Her Master Degree is in English literature, focusing on Iranian modern literature and Western philosophy and the comparison between them. She has published two collections of poetry and two of her books including a collection of her articles on Iranian women’s rights and feminist movements in Iran are under publishing, all of which are in Persian. Since 2010, beside her political and social activities, she is undertaking her PhD on feminist politics and resistance in selected novels by contemporary Iranian women writers.
Azadeh Pourzand is a recent graduate of Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and Nijenrode Business Universiteit in NL. She works as a freelance consultant and a researcher for a number of international organizations focusing on strengthening civil society in the Muslim world.
Azam Bahrami left Iran six years ago. A graduate of physics and management studies, she remains an author and an activist on environmental and women’s rights issues relating to Iran.
Azin Tadjdini is a jurist currently working at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She holds a PhD in Law from the University of Oslo, an LLM from Georgetown University and a Masters in Law from the University of Oslo.
Barbara Lochbihler MEP is the Chair of the European Parliament sub-committee on Human Rights. She joined the European Parliament as a representative of the German Green party. Prior to joining the Parliament she served as General Secretary of Amnesty International Germany for ten years, having previously served as general secretary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Geneva) from 1992-1999. She is a founding member of the German Institute for Human Rights and the founding member of the Human Rights Foundation.
Behrouz Javid-Tehrani is a former prisoner of conscience, spending all together 9 years in prison fr civil activism in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is currently a researcher and the chief editor of the Persian website of Iran Human Rights. Iran Human Rights (IHR) is a politically independent NGO with a broad network inside Iran. It is based in Oslo, Norway with members ad affiliates in several countries. IHR has been among the few Iranian NGOs with its main focus on the death penalty and the first one to publish annual reports on the death penalty in Iran. The first annual report was published in 2008 and since then IHR’s annual reports are the points of reference and widely cited reports providing a more realistic of the death penalty trends in Iran. Promoting the rule of law and protecting the rights of minorities and human rights defenders are other areas of IHR focus.
Brian J. Grim, PhD is President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) and a leading expert on international religious demography and the socio-economic impact of restrictions on religious freedom. Brian is also chair of the World Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the role of faith. Brian holds a visiting professorship at St. Mary’s University in London, where he is developing the RFBF’s Empowerment+ initiative to increase religious freedom by helping those experiencing a wide range of socio-economic risks. Brian is an advisor for the religion & geopolitics project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He is also an associate scholar at the Religious Liberty Project at Georgetown University and an affiliated scholar at Boston University’s Institute on Culture, Religion & World Affairs. He previously directed the largest social science effort to collect and analyze global data on religion at the Pew Research Center.
Dr Bronwen Robertson is Small Media's Research Manager and Editor. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2010 and her book, Reverberations of Dissent in Iran, was published by Continuum (New York) in June 2012. Her reports on Tehran’s unofficial rock music scene are based on a year of participant-observation field research conducted between July 2007 and July 2008 in Tehran and through on-going contact with the scene via the internet. Bronwen has also worked as a music tutor and translator for Afghan and Iranian refugee children in London.
Claudia Mendoza is a Research Analyst at the Legatum Institute. She works on a variety of topics related to foreign policy, security, and the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and the Gulf. Prior to joining the Institute, Claudia was an Associate Fellow for Middle East, at the Henry Jackson Society. She is also a former Legacy Heritage Fellow at the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels. She has published articles in various publications including Standpoint Magazine, the New Statesman, the Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star Lebanon. Claudia has a Master’s degree in Middle East Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University College of London.
Dan Wheatley specialises in British social history and human rights. He was awarded a scholarship to attend a United World College in Southern Africa before attaining a B.A (Honours) in Classical Civilisation and an M.A. in International Relations. He has taught the course on “Multi-Cultural London” at Syracuse London program since 2008. Dan serves as an Adjunct Professor and has another vocation as Senior Diplomatic Officer for the Bahai community of the UK, a religious minority deeply engaged in human rights and social policy issues, working at a high level with government, parliament and international institutions.
Djavad Salehi-Isfahani received his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. He is currently Professor of Economics at Virginia Tech and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania (1977-84) and been visiting faculty at the University of Oxford (1991-92), the Brookings Institution (2007-08), and Harvard Kennedy School (2009-2010, and fall 2013). He has served on the Boards of Trustees of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo and the Middle East Economic Association. He is the Associate Editor of the "Middle East Development Journal". His research has been in energy economics, demographic economics, and the economics of the Middle East. He has co-authored two books, "Models of the Oil Market" and "After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World", and edited two volumes, "Labor and Human Capital in the Middle East" and "The Production and Diffusion of Public Choice". His articles have appeared in "Economic Journal", "Journal of Development Economics", "Health Economics", "Economic Development and Cultural Change"," "Journal of Economic Inequality", "International Journal of Middle East Studies", "Middle East Development Journal", and "Iranian Studies", among others.
Drewery Dyke is a Researcher at Amnesty International. Save for 2006-2007, when he worked on Afghanistan, from 2000-2013 he worked mainly on Iran. In 2014 he started working on several Persian Gulf states. He has written for Transparency International, the Turkish Areas Studies Group’s Review and the now-closed Turkey Briefing. He speaks good Persian and Turkish and is interested in folk music. He is learning the saz, a mainly Anatolian string instrument related to Iran’s tar.
Elahe Amani is a gender equality, human rights and peace activist. She is currently the Chair of Global Circles of Women's Intercultural Network, a global women's organization with grassroots circles in Uganda, Japan and Afghanistan. She is also a trained mediator and the Co-Chair of Mediators Beyond Borders International Institute. Elahe has also lectured through the Women’s Studies Department of CSU Long Beach and CSU Fullerton. She has written extensively on human rights and women's rights issues in both Persian and English. Currently she is the director of Technology Services at California State University Fullerton.
Elaheh Iranian is a women’s rights activist and studied sociology at Tehran University. She earned her graduate degree in the same field at Tarbiat Modarres University and left Iran in 2012 to further her studies in sex and sexuality. She completed her studies in 2014 at The State University of New York and is now engaged in academic efforts and research on women and sexuality.
Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, a former member of the Iranian Parliament during Khatami’s era, holds a Ph.D. in Counselling. Prior to her career as a politician, she taught at Tehran and Shahid Beheshti universities in Iran. After her resignation following a losing struggle for reform in 2004, she became a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Policy at University of Massachusetts in Boston, USA. She was then a fellow at the Centre for International Studies at MIT and later the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University. She is currently a Lecturer & Global Initiative Coordinator for the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Policy at McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at University of Massachusetts.
Geoffrey Robertson QC is author of ‘Mullah’s Without Mercy: Human Rights and Nuclear Weapons’ (Biteback Publishing, 2012). He is the founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers, He serves as a Master of the Bench at the Middle Temple, a recorder (a part-time Judge), and visiting professor at Queen Mary University of London
Hadi Enayat is a political sociologist and visiting lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisation, Aga Khan University, London. He worked as a journalist for the Cairo based Al-Ahram Weekly from 1992-4. He has also worked in the area of refugee rights with the London based NGO Praxis from 2005-7. His book Law, State and Society in Modern Iran (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) won the 2013 Biennial Mossadegh Prize.
Hamid Hamidi is a respected European-based Iranian journalist. Over the past two decades he has dedicated much of his time to supporting efforts towards Iranian women’s struggles for equal rights, and has conducted research and studies concerning important social issues including the rights of women and children as well as human rights.
Hanna Belle is Research Fellow (2015-2016) in the Centre for Studies in Security, Peace Research and International Order at Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB), Brazil. She is currently engaged in an extensive research on violations of minority rights during both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administrations.
Hassan Nayeb Hashem is a human rights activists and the representative of Sudwind, an Austrian NGO, to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. An accomplished medical doctor in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Nayeb Hashem has spearheaded numerous civil society projects, protests and hunger strikes to raise awareness about the situation of human rights in Iran. Over the past decade, he has been instrumental in strengthening the presence of activists and experts interested in promotion of human rights for all citizens in Iran through diverse and constant representation during Human Rights Council sessions and associated events.
Hedayat Matine-Daftary is a lawyer and former vice-president of the Iranian Bar Association. In 1979 he was a founder of the National Democratic Front of Iran (NDFI) which advocated democracy and a secular state. The Front was banned by Khomeini later that year and Matine-Daftary was forced into exile. He has since devoted himself to campaigning for human rights in Iran, the re-introduction of secular judicial institutions and observance of international human rights conventions. Most recently as a member of the Jurists Steering Committee he helped to establish the Iran Tribunal, an International People’s Tribunal, convened in 2012 at the Peace Palace in The Hague to investigate serious allegations of human rights violations and crimes against humanity in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 1980s. Matine-Daftary also gave expert evidence before the international panel of judges presided over by Judge Johann Kriegler of South Africa.
Dr. Hossein Ladjevardi is the President of the Association des Chercheurs Iraniens (ACI), established in 1992 and has conducted various research projects with French universities and the UN. He worked as a senior lecturer on Research Methodology at Tehran University and other universities between 1978 and 1982; Executive Project Manager for Population Growth in Iran on behalf of the United Nations Development and Population (UNDP) between 1973 and 1976; and as a senior researcher at the Social Research and Study Institute, Tehran University, between 1970 and 1972. Dr. Ladjevardi has also worked as a Statistics and Demography specialist in the Statistics Centre of Iran. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology (Demography) from the Sorbonne, Paris in 1978. Dr. Ladjevardi published a two-volume book in July 2010, entitled “The Today and Tomorrow of Iran: Volume I ‘Concern’, Volume II ‘The Parliament of Minds.’
Hossein Raeesi graduated from Shiraz University faculty of Law in 1991 and holds a Master of Criminal Law and Criminology from University of Tehran. He is a defense lawyer specialized in human rights and death penalty cases. As a member of the Human Rights Council and the Bar Association in the province of Fars, Raeesi is the founder of Nedayeh Edalat (Voice of Justice) Legal Association in Shiraz, through which he has been actively involved in training young lawyers and civil society activists in human rights principles. He has defended cases involving women, youth and minorities, and is a Legal Advisor to Iran Human Rights Documentations Center since September, 2012. Raeesi conducted training and webinars on a regular basis and resides in Toronto, Canada.
In 2009, Hossein Rassam had already been working for five years as the political analyst for the British Embassy in Tehran. Following the breakout of protests disputing the results of the presidential election that year, he was arrested and accused of being part of a conspiracy to foment a velvet revolution in Iran. Later he had to appear in a show trial and eventually received a suspended jail term. Hossein left Iran in 2011 and until very recently worked in the capacity of Senior Political Adviser on Iran for Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He continues to do Iran-related work and has formed a partnership to establish Rastah consultancy.
John Weston is the Member of Parliament for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, where most of the February 2010 Winter Olympics were held. An international lawyer by training, he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Harvard University and Osgoode Hall Law School respectively. He spent over ten years practicing law in Asia. He is a member of Canada’s governing Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
A graduate of Azad University, Kamyar Behrang is a journalist and TV producer. He left Iran in 2002 and after settling in Sweden continued his activities through the Iranian Association in Sweden. He has collaborated with a wide range of efforts aimed at raising awareness about civil and human rights through Iranian media. Behrang began his career as a TV producer in 2012 in London and is currently working with Kayhan-London. He plans to publish his research findings on the Guardianship of the Islamic Supreme Jurist since the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 to the Iran of today.
Kavian Milani is a physician and founder of the non-profit NGO, "Center for Health and Human Rights," providing medical care and social services for the uninsured and indigent, and in advocacy and education. In September 2012 he co-edited and published "Goftemanhaye Ejtemai'i Moaser" (Discourses of Contemporary Society). He has published peer reviewed academic papers and contributed chapters on Iranian history, manuscript identification, comparative religions and religious including "Journal of Iranian Studies" and "Encyclopaedia Iranica".
Ladan Boroumand is cofounder and research director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, a nongovernmental organization that promotes human rights awareness through education and the dissemination of information as a necessary basis for the eventual establishment of a stable democracy in Iran. The Foundation is best known as the home of Omid, a website that details the human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic and memorializes its victims. Dr. Bouroumand is the author of articles on the French Revolution, the Islamic revolution in Iran, and the nature of Islamist terrorism. She is also the author of La Guerre des Principes (1999), an extensive study of the tensions throughout the French Revolution between human rights and the sovereignty of the nation.
Leila Alikarami is an Iranian lawyer and human rights defender. She represented several prisoners of conscience while studying and working in Iran. She was also an active member of Iran's One Million Signatures campaign. In 2009, shortly after her move to the UK, she accepted the RAW in War Anna Politkovskaya Award on behalf of the One Million Campaign. She completed her PhD at SOAS and works at the Centre for Supporters of Human Rights.
Leili Nekounazar is a PHD researcher at the Literature and Cultures Department of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (KULeuven). She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the 'Daneshkadeh Khabar' (Faculty of News), Tehran-Iran. She studied Cultural Studies for her first Master’s degree at the Faculty of Art, KULeuven, and Cultures and Development Studies (Anthropology) for her second (advanced) Master’s degree at the Faculty of Social Science, KULeuven. Currently, under the supervision of Professor Anneleen Masschelein she is writing her thesis on Fashion and Aesthetics Politics in Post-Revolutionary Iran. Leili won a scholarship from Annenburg School of Communication and Journalism to conduct a research on Iran’s exile media and the coverage of elections. Leili has contributed to BBC Persian's talk shows and its website. She has written on topics including pop culture, cultural semiotics and analysis.
M.T. and T. E. are two graduates of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education. Despite the pressures they face as members of the Baha’i community, they have chosen to remain in Iran and continue to help build a better community around them.
Maedeh Ghaderi, a human rights activist of Kurdish origin, was born in Bojnourd, Iran and completed her secondary education in Mashad. As a university student she worked as an editor and presenter at a radio show for women in Khorassan province. Due to her criticism of contradictory Islamic laws on women she was expelled from the station. She began her career as a lawyer but after accepting to defend political prisoners, faced imprisonment, following which she was forced to leave Iran. She was awarded the 2013 Bochum Human Rights Award.
Professor. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam is a Norwegian-Iranian neuroscientist and human rights advocate. He arrived in Norway as a refugee of minor age, via Pakistan in 1985 and completed his medical studies in Norway and Harvard medical school in the United States. In 2004, he received the King's gold medal for the best medical doctorate at the University of Oslo and the Anders Jahre Awards medicine prize for young scientists. He works currently as the Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuroscience and professor at the medical faculty at the University of Oslo, Norway. Amiry-Moghaddam is well known as a defender of human rights. He received the Norwegian Amnesty International's human rights prize in 2007 for his work against human rights violations in Iran. He is the founder and director of the Oslo based NGO Iran Human Rights which monitors the violations of human rights with a particular focus on death penalty in Iran and works to empower the civil society inside Iran.
Mahnaz Parakand graduated with a degree in law from Tehran University. While still a student, she was arrested for participating in the 1981 demonstrations in Iran that saw thousands of opponents of the new Revolutionary regime rounded up and executed. She was sentenced to death in 1981, but the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment, of which she served five years and was barred from finishing her degree for a further two years. She was denied a license to practice law until 2002. Once she was able to obtain it, Parakand began defending political prisoners and joined the Defender of Human Rights Center, a law firm that defends and advocates for the rights of political prisoners in Iran. She defended prominent human rights lawyers Shirin Ebadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Abdolfattah Soltani; as well as the seven Bahá'í leaders known as the Yárán, and numerous other human rights and political activists. In 2011, she was summoned to Evin prison in Iran, and after facing the threat of execution again, she left Iran for Norway where she now works as an activist with an interest in human rights and women's rights in Iran.
Marcos Alan S. V. Ferreira is Professor of Ethics and International Relations in the Department of International Relations at Federal University of Paraiba - UFPB (João Pessoa, Brazil). Since 2009 he has written extensively about human rights in Middle East. Representing UFPB, he is currently engaged in several public debates and actions to promote religions and women’s rights in the North-eastern Region of Brazil. His research interests involve Peace Studies and Peace Education, with special focus on South America and the Middle East.
Mariam Memarsadeghi is the founder and director of TAVAANA: E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society. Recognised as a "Transatlantic Young Leader" by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Marshall Fund, she was awarded an educational grant from The Washington Post. She studied political science and political theory at Dickinson College (BA) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (MA). She is an expert on free media and Internet initiatives for repressive regime contexts and helped found the bi-lingual web magazine Gozaar: A Journal on Democracy and Human Rights in Iran while serving as Senior Program Manager at Freedom House.
Maryam Hosseinkhah is an Iranian journalist and human rights activist. Maryam was an active member and one of the founders of the Campaign for Equality in Iran. She has worked as a member of the editorial team of several women's rights websites and Iranian newspapers, as well as a freelance journalist with BBC Persian and Radio Zamaneh. She earned her Masters Degree from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at University of Dublin, Trinity College. Her thesis was entitled: The Death Penalty and Islamic Law: A Study of Women’s Executions in Iran.
Mehr Emadi is a researcher and lecturer at Universities of Warwick, Coventry, Staffordshire, Visiting Professor at University of Prague (VSE), St. Petersburg University, University of Tirana, Visiting Fellow at Cornell University, Prague School of Economics, Keil University, state University of St. Petersburg and Associated Fellow at Industrial Economics Research Programme (Cambridge University), OECD-EU research Programme on Financial Reforms in Eastern Europe, Emadi has taken part in EU Projects on Privatization, Industrial Competitiveness, Human resource Upgrading, Technology Transfer and Foreign Direct Investment and Policy Advisor. He has presented and published more than seventy papers and appeared on major media outlets including BBC, CNN, Euro News, Russian TV, Rasa, VOA, and Sky News.
Meir Javedanfar is the co-author of “The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran”. He teaches the “Contemporary Iranian Politics” course at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) at Herzliya, and is also the Director of the Tel Aviv based Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company (MEEPAS). Meir is a regular commentator for BBC Persian, The Guardian newspaper as well as CNN Español and serves as an expert on the United Nation Alliance of Civilisations - Global Experts Resource Project. He holds a Masters degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.
Mohammad Mostafaei was a human rights lawyer in Iran focussing on the rights of children. A graduate of law and political science at Tehran University, Mostafaei’s wife was briefly detained in as a hostage in 2010 in order to force Mostafaei to stop his human rights activities, particularly those pertaining to the case of Sakineh Ashiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning. Mostafaei and his family now reside in Norway.
Mojtaba Saminejad is the founder and editor of RAHANA, a website documenting the work of an Iran-based human rights group opposing the repression of Iranian citizens. He studied journalism at the Islamic Azad University prior to his arrest, imprisonment and torture for almost two years due to his activities as a blogger. Reporters Without Borders recognized his blog as one of the best blogs defending freedom of expression in 2004.
Musa Barzin Khalifehloo is a criminal lawyer. As a member of the human rights commission of the East Azerbaijan Bar Association, he defended more than 50 citizens charged with political activism. Following his activities to help save Oroumiyeh Lake and interviews with media outlets outside of Iran, he was detained for more than three months and sentenced to more than 27 months of imprisonment. He is an asylum seeker in Turkey and continues his work as a human rights defender.
Nahid Husseini is a Doctoral Researcher at Kingston University in London. She holds an MA in Gender Education and International Development from the Institute of Education in London. She is an Iranian journalist and researcher on gender and education.
Nasrin Afzali is a PhD candidate at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. As a leading activists of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Nasrin is known for her contributions as a women's rights activists. She faced a suspended sentence of flogging and imprisonment for her activities in Iran. As a researcher her areas of interest includes Muslim women, sexuality and sports. She was the editor of 'Feminist Theories' section of the Zanan Magazine in Iran. She has and continues to write about women's rights issues under the Islamic Republic.
Nasrin Alavi is the author of We Are Iran (Portobello Books, 2006), which has been translated into a number of languages. More recently she has contributed to The People Reloaded “The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future ” (2011 Melville House Publishing). She has written for publications including the Financial Times Magazine, The Times, The Independent and Private Eye, in addition to writing for non-English language publications such as Spain’s La Vanguardia and Germany’s Das Parlament. She is a regular contributor to OpenDemocracy on Iran and has written extensively for Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung (Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education).
Nasser Asghary is a social worker and an Iranian political dissident living in exile. He has done extensive research on workers issues in Iran. Over the past ten years he has continued to author articles in Persian on issues facing workers in Iran, including comparative analysis on issues facing workers in Iran and in the West.
Nasser Boladai is spokesperson of BPP (Balochistan Peoples Party) and a member of the International Committee of the CNFI (Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran). Boladai is a member of the editorial board for a Balochi and Persian magazine called TRAN, which is devoted to political and cultural discourse among Balochs, and other Iranians. He has contributed numerous articles to this magazine on national self determination, people’s sovereignty, Federalism, Balochi language and literature specifically in the area of Balochi Folklore. At the present he is cooperating with Uppsala University to compile a Balochi dictionary.
Nazanine Moshiri is a Presenter and Correspondent for Al Jazeera English. For the past four years she has covered some of the most important stories for the Network. She has reported extensively from throughout Europe as well as in Afghanistan and Iran. Amongst her most important interviewees have been British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, and Ali Akhbar Salehi, the current Iranian Foreign Minister. She was embedded with Russian troops during the Russian-Georgian War and was one of the first journalists to reach Tskhinvali in South Ossetia after the Russian invasion of 2008 and L'Aquila, Italy, after the 2009 earthquake. More recently Nazanine reported from Tunisia during and after the fall of President Ben Ali. Before Al Jazeera, Nazanine was a well-known face in Britain, reporting and presenting for ITN. Nazanine was born in Tehran, her family moved to the UK in 1978, before the Islamic Revolution. In addition to English, she speaks Farsi, Italian and French. She has a Postgraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Westminster and a BA (Hon) from University College London in Modern European Studies.
As an Iranian journalist with Kayhan (London) and formerly of Persian News Network of Voice of America, Nazenin has conducted hundreds of interviews with Iranian intellectuals, politicians, civil society and religious leaders, businessmen and ordinary citizens. She has provided news analysis on international news channels such as BBC World, Sky News and Al-Jazeera English and her commentaries have been published among other places in the Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, the Guardian, Fabian Review and openDemocracy. She has also been an invited guest speaker at events organized by Chatham house, Georgetown University, the Foreign Policy Centre, Legatum Institute, the Fabian Society, the Doha Debates, the Intelligence Squared, the Conservative Middle East Council and the German Marshall Fund amongst others. Nazenin has worked with a number of Iranian cultural foundations and is now on the Board of Trustees of Encyclopedia Iranica. As President and Vice President of the Foreign Press Association in London, she formulated new initiatives such as the Dialogue of Cultures programme, aimed at fostering greater understanding between cultures and visions. She is also one of the Judges of the UK Parliamentary Press Gallery Award, presented annually to the journalist considered to have made the greatest contribution internationally to the 'protection, promotion and perpetuation of parliamentary democracy'. She is a member of the Royal Institute for International Affairs, Chatham House and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Nazenin received her International Baccalaureat Diploma from Iranzamin, Tehran International High School in 1977. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University in Public Affairs and Government in 1980, and Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University in International Relations and Comparative Politics (the Soviet Union and the Middle East) in 1983.
Negar Esfandiari is a freelance journalist based in UK and Italy. The following piece is based on an interview with Saeed Valadbaygi, a Toronto-based young Iranian blogger and editor of Street Journalist, a grass-roots news site run by citizen journalists in and outside of Iran.
Open Doors is supplying Bibles, training church leaders, delivering Scripture-based literacy programmes and supporting Christians who suffer for their faith in over 50 countries. In the UK and Ireland Open Doors strives to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians.
Pardis Shafafi is currently a doctoral candidate at The University of St Andrews at the department of Social Anthropology. Her current thesis centers on revolutionary narratives of Iranians within the Iranian Diaspora, with a special focus on The Iran Tribunal, collective memory, and post-traumatic political participation. Her forthcoming publications feature an in depth analysis of Diaspora activism and the obstacles to achieving change therein, with close attention to the dynamics of The Iran Tribunal. She has previously published on cyber-activism and has spoken extensively in international conferences on the theme of former revolutionary activists in exile.
Dr. Payam Akhavan obtained his Doctorate from Harvard Law School. He is Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He was formerly a UN prosecutor at The Hague and appeared in leading cases before international courts and tribunals. He is Founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre and Prosecutor of the Iran Tribunal. Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2005, his work has been featured on BBC HardTalk and the New York Times.
Potkin Azarmehr is one of the first Iranians to use the Internet for political purposes. He is also a contributor to media outlets on Iran-related matters and maintains a blog with over 90,000 unique readers a year. He is a business intelligence consultant and as part of his work, was instrumental in exposing claims of Haystack anti-filter tool as a fraud.
Raha Shadan (pseudonym) is an experienced legal expert in international law who practices as a lawyer in Iran. She is a human rights activist with a special focus on women's rights. She has been a member of various campaigns and efforts focussed on promotion of law.
Ramin Asgard is a career Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. In February of 2011, he assumed the office of Director of the Voice of America’s Persian News Network. VOA began broadcasting to Iran as the VOA Persian Service in 1942, and now provides the U.S. government’s primary communications channel to Iran. Prior to joining VOA, Mr. Asgard served as Political Advisor to the Commanding General of U.S. Central Command, first for General David Petraeus and later for General James Mattis. Before CENTCOM, Mr. Asgard served as Director of the Iran Regional Presence Office in Dubai, the U.S. government’s primary field operation concerning Iran. Prior to IRPO-Dubai, Mr. Asgard served as Deputy Political Counsellor in Riyadh, Economic/Commercial Officer in Kabul, Political/Economic Officer in the UAE, and as a Consular Officer in Turkey. Mr. Asgard has also served domestically as an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and as Desk Officer for Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. He has received the 2007 Secretary’s Award for Public Outreach, the 2003 Charles Cobb Award for Trade Promotion, and several Superior and Meritorious Honour Awards. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Asgard practiced law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University, his Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor’s degree from Temple University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Director of European Branch, The Kurdistan Human Rights Network.
Rossi Qajar is a technology consultant and developer. A Cornell university Engineering graduate, he founded the Houston based United Media Corporation, catering engineering, publishing and graphics solutions, mostly to the oil and gas and space industries. United Media Corporation kept a close relationship with Enron Corporation through a Facilities Management contract. Mr. Qajar also developed virtual schooling and cooperative sales management software for education institutions, as well as patient management software for the medical field. His more recent projects involve social media marketing applications in e-commerce. Mr. Qajar is the grandson of Ehtesham Saltaneh, one of the leaders of the 1906 Persian Constitutional revolution and elected President of the first Persian parliament (Majles). He has a strong interest in Iranian Islamic theosophy and in Iran’s contemporary history.
Rouhi Shafii is a social scientist, specialised in women’s issues and prevention of violence. She is also a published author and translator. She has translated many books and articles from English into Persian. She is the Founder and executive Director of the International Coalition Against Violence in Iran and lectures internationally on prevention of violence.
Roya Kashefi-Ladjevardi regularly participates in and presents papers at international conferences as well as attending sessions at the United Nations Human Rights Council. In addition, Roya comments on international Radio and Television and has been involved with and assisted in the production of television and radio documentaries on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Her current research focuses on two issues. First, education and job opportunities for women in Iran, and second, national laws and policies affecting the lives of Iran's ethnic and religious groups.
Saba Farzan was born in Tehran and grew up in Germany. She is an independent writer for major German, Austrian and Swiss newspapers as well as the European edition of the Wall Street Journal on Iranian civil society, Iran and the USA, as well as German-Iranian relations. She holds a Master's degree from the University of Bayreuth in Theatre studies, American Literature and Sociology with research stays in New York and at Yale University. She currently lives in Geneva, Switzerland.
Saeed Paivandi is a professor of sociology at the Paris-8 University. He has an extensive background in education and specific expertise in Iran’s post-revolutionary education system. Dr. Paivandi has written more than 34 articles, numerous research papers and comparative studies on topics related to education, including a book entitled, Religion and Education in Iran: the Failure of Islamicising Schools, published in 2006 (L’Harmattan – Paris).
Saghi Ghahreman is the president of the Iranian Queer Organization - a non-profit organisation that defends the human and civil rights of Iranian LGBT individuals living in Iran or among the diaspora. A published poet, Saghi is the first openly lesbian Iranian who has written extensively on the controversial issue of homosexuality and gender fluidity against the oppressive norms of Iranian culture. An interview with her published in 2007 in an Iranian daily, Sharq, forced a two-year suspension of the popular reformist paper. Saghi fled Iran in 1984 to Canada with her young son and husband, whom she divorced five years after.
Dr Sanam Vakil is a professorial lecturer in the Middle East Studies Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS Europe) in Bologna, Italy. She has provided commentary, research and political commentary for a variety of academic and news outlets, as well as institutions and organisations and high-ranking government officials in the US, UK and Europe. She is the author of Women and Politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Sedigheh Vasmaghi was a former Tehran University Professor on the subject of Islamic jurisprudence and Islamic law and the first woman who earned a PhD degree in Islamic jurisprudence and principles of Islamic law from Elahiat College of Tehran University. She has published numerous articles and books. Her book titled ‘Woman, Jurisprudence, Islam’, which takes a critical approach to women’s rights in Islamic jurisprudence and was translated in to English and published in Germany. In her book, ‘The shortcomings of fiqh’, she criticizes some principles of the Islamic jurisprudence. In her other publications on the Islamic jurisprudence, she has emphasized the need for reforms in sharia. She is an advocate of equal rights for women and believes that the civil and penal codes are not part of the Islamic sharia. She was a member and the spokesperson of the Tehran City Council for four years at the beginning of the reform movement in Iran. Her memoir of this period, entitled ‘Surely there is a way’ was published in Paris. Moreover, a collection of her poetry was published in Sweden in Swedish language.
Shadi Sadr is a Founder and Executive Director of Justice for Iran (JFI). An award-winning journalist and lawyer, she has published and lectured worldwide. Ms. Sadr is the Director of Raahi, a legal advice centre for women shut down by the islamic Republic authorities, as well as Zanan-e Iran, a site dedicated to women's rights activists. While in Iran, she represented several women sentenced to death and as a result of her extensive activities, was imprisoned in Iran on various occasions prior to her departure in 2009 and establishing JFI in London, United Kingdom.
Shadi Salehian has worked as a researcher. She has an undergraduate degree in microbiology and another in Education. She is completing a Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University with focus on substance abuse and mental illness. She researches and collaborates with the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights in Albany New York with the Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei, both of whom were imprisoned in Iran for their work on HIV/AIDS.
Shahin Sadeghzadeh Milani obtained his J.D. from Howard University School of Law and his LL.M. from Vermont Law School. He is currently a legal analyst at the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC).
Shahriar Ahy has broad experience in political development, from Eastern Europe to the Islamic World. He was a director of the US-Baltic Foundation, which supported civil society and democratic public administration in the Baltic States. He was a co-founder of Baltic Fund, the first private equity investment Fund in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He was also the chief executive of AGI, which controlled media assets ranging from news wire in the US to radio and television networks, as well as production, programming, media sales and cable operations in the Middle East. Shahriar was the principal of the General Implicator, a project to create a natural language comprehension engine usable on Arpanet, the forerunner of Internet. He received a high pass on his doctoral exams at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976 and passed his doctoral thesis colloquium in 1978, based on a model to analyze the behaviour of oil exporting countries. At MIT he was assistant to Ithiel de Sola Pool who edited the handbook of communication, a compendium of theories of communication.
Shideh Rezaei is a public health communication and marketing specialist who has published many articles and produced innumerable interviews. She is an expert in producing multimedia training materials on women's health and has worked with women from diverse backgrounds.
Shireen Hunter is a visiting Professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Prior to that she was the director of Islam program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (1998-2005), Visiting Fellow at the Centre For European Policy Studies, Brussels (1994-1998) and Deputy Director of the Middle East program at CSIS (1983-1993). She has also worked as a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution and the Harvard Centre for International Affairs. Between 1965 and 1978 she was a member of the Iranian foreign services in Tehran, London and Geneva. She is the author, editor or contributor of 18 books, seven major monographs, 40 chapters, 40 journal articles and hundreds of opinion pieces and book reviews. Her latest book entitled Iran's Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era: Resisting the new International Order, was published earlier this year.
Dr. Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge, human rights activist and a co-founder of the Centre for the Defenders of Human Rights in Iran. Her pioneering work on children’s, women’s, minorities’ and refugee rights in her country has earned her a legion of honour, more than a dozen honorary doctorates and countless other achievements. On October 10, 2003, Ebadi became the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of democracy and human rights. Following her decision to represent the Bahá’í minority, state-sponsored media began a series of attacks on her and the Iranian authorities threatened or arrested, members of her family and staff. Dr. Ebadi left Iran in spring of 2009 and now resides in London, UK.
Silvia Tellenbach completed her studies of law with the first and the legal preparatory service with the second state examination, and her Islamic studies earning a doctorate with a dissertation on the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1984). Since then she has held the position of head of the section Turkey, Iran and the Arab states at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. Her main interest of research is Turkish criminal law, Islamic criminal law in the modern world, particularly in the Islamic Republic of Iran and constitutional law of the Near Eastern states. She published numerous books and articles in this field.
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has practised as a barrister since 1971. He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia. Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or pro bono for victims groups in Burma, North Korea, and the historic Iran Tribunal in 2012 and beyond, whose cases cannot get to any international court. He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues. He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries. Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers. He is a highly respected figure in the world of law and has set up a foundation in the Netherlands to train young professionals: http://www.geoffreynicefoundation.com/.
Somi Arian was born in 1981. She lived in Iran until her move to the UK in 2005, where she earned two masters degrees in political science and political philosophy from Dundee and St Andrews Universities. She works as a TV producer and director at Manoto TV, and the lead singer of a metal band, Mortad.
Born in 1982, Soolmaz Ikdar was expelled from Open University (Iran). In 2005 she began working as a journalist with some of Iran’s notable newspapers including Etemad, Yas-e No, Shargh, Bahar, Aseman, Mardom-e Emrooz and Hafteh Nameh as well as Iran-e Farda and Zanan-e Emrooz. She was arrested and charged with the crime of spreading propaganda against the state in 2008. She faced a similar charge and a three-year prison sentence in 2015.
Steven Aiello holds a BA in Economics (NYU) and an MA in Diplomacy and Conflict Studies (IDC Herzliya) and is currently focused on an interdisciplinary comparison of Islamic and Jewish law. He formerly served as co-Editor of the WIIS Israel Middle East Review and the Middle East Desk Chief for Wikistrat.com. He currently lives in Israel, where he teaches debate and Model UN skills to high school students and works on various interfaith and youth coexistence initiatives.
M.T. and T. E. are two graduates of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education. Despite the pressures they face as members of the Baha’i community, they have chosen to remain in Iran and continue to help build a better community around them.
Tabassom Fanaian has Mphill degree in Political psychology from university of Oslo and accomplished her BA degree in Psychology at BIHE university. She wrote her master thesis on theocratic ideology and democratic behavior in Iran. Since Feb 2013, she has been cooperating with Iran Human Rights organization as researcher and translator. Tabassom has also followed teaching psychology for undergraduates at BIHE university as her profession for seven years. Her interests in the field of research are political behavior, social movements, democratization, theocracy and professional ethics.
Tahirih Danesh is a Human Rights Researcher and Documenter specializing in the case of minorities in Iran. She is the Chief Editor of the Iran Human Rights Review and a Senior Research Associate at the Foreign Policy Centre. She also is an independent consultant dedicated to in-depth investigation, research and documentation, analysis and reporting of human rights abuses in Iran; focusing on allegations of serious violations of human rights and international criminal law against minorities based on religion, ethnicity, gender or age; monitoring hate-based propaganda through Iranian media; promotion of public awareness of issues concerning democracy and human rights in Iran; and an advocate of human rights education for the younger generation of Iranians both in Iran and abroad. She currently also the Research Coordinator of the Persia Educational Foundation.
Taimoor Aliassi is the UN Representative of the Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran in Geneva (KMMK-G). Mr. Aliassi is a Swiss citizen with a Kurdish background from Iran, the country he left after the 1979th revolution. He studied at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID) and obtained a Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Action with a specialization in International Law. Mr. Aliassi is the co-founder of the KMMK-G, an association that promotes democracy, respect for Human Rights and the social development in Kurdistan of Iran and beyond. He is driven in fighting against all forms of discrimination, especially against people from ethnic and religious minorities in the region, advocating against the death penalty and promoting the rights of women and children.
Irwin Cotler is a Member of the Canadian Parliament, Emeritus Professor of Law (McGill University), and the former Minister of Justice & Attorney General of Canada. He is co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran and of the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Project.
Tori Egherman works as a writer and program developer for Arseh Sevom (http://arsehsevom.net). She lived and worked in Iran from 2003-2007 where she blogged as Esther for View from Iran (http://viewfromiran.blogspot.com). She has published numerous articles and has contributed to three books on Iran.
A Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy, Dr. Wahdat-Hagh is an Iranian scholar based in Germany. He writes regular columns for a wide range of German publications addressing the threat of Iran as well as its violations of human rights and minority rights. Dr. Wahdat-Hagh is consulted on a regular basis by both policy-makers as well as international media.