February 28, 2023

Iranian leaders gather at Georgetown with a message of unity for post-revolutionary Iran

The Georgetown Voice

Sarah Watson

Content warning: This article discusses police brutality and political violence.

On Feb. 10, the 44th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian activists, journalists, and politicians gathered in Georgetown’s Riggs Library for an internationally broadcast press conference on the future of Iranian democracy. The panel marked a major moment in the ongoing revolution in Iran, as international activists vowed to prioritize a unified front above their plans for government structures in a future democratic Iran.

Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace, and Security ambassador Melanne Verveer hosted the event in collaboration with the SFS and the student-run Iranian Cultural Society. Panelists discussed the future of the ongoing Iranian revolution in person and over pre-recorded videos.

The in-person panel was primarily in Farsi and moderated by Georgetown professor Karim Sadjadpour. It included journalist Masih Alinejad, actress and human rights advocate Nazanin Boniadi, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, and Dr. Hamed Esmaeilion—president of the association of families of Flight P2752victims who died in a 2020 plane crash. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Secretary-General of the Kurdish Komala Party Abdullah Mohtadi, and actress and advocate Golshifteh Farahani spoke via pre-recorded messages, with Farahani also giving a statement on behalf of Ali Karimi, former captain of Iran’s national soccer team.

The ongoing protests began in September 2022, following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, in police custody. Amini had been apprehended by Iran’s Guidance Patrol—also known as the morality police—for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. Hundreds of thousands in Iran and around the world have protested under the banner of “Zan, Zendigi, Azadi,” or, “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Amini’s death—and the deaths of other women, protesters, and activists—have sparked a new revolution in Iran to overthrow the current regime.

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