Reza Pahlavi is the oldest son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, and his wife Farah Diba. He was the crown prince before the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. He is the founder of the self-styled National Council of Iran and a prominent critic of Iran's Islamic Republic government.
Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh was a princess, women's rights activist, feminist, and memoirist. A multi-talented personality, Taj al-Saltaneh acquired the status of a legendary figure among women while she was still active. The first woman to take off the hijab in court, Zahra organized underground women's rights meetings and led a women's rights march against the monarchy under her father.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi is known for her significant work with refugees, women, and children, and her countless books, such as Iran Awakening. In spite of being Iran’s first female judge, she found it difficult to establish herself in the male-dominated profession.
Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her depiction of the dynamics that women share with Islamic cultural elements. Known for her multi-media productions such as Logic of the Birds, the UCB alumna who has worked in New York for a decade uses photography and films to express herself.
Babak Khorramdin was an Iranian revolutionary leader of the Iranian Khorram-Dinān, a local freedom movement fighting the Abbasid Caliphate. The rebellion spearheaded by Babak spread to the western and central parts of Iran and lasted for two decades before it was suppressed. Babak was betrayed by one of his own men and put to death by the Abbasid Caliph.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer who has represented imprisoned activists following the Iranian presidential elections in June 2009 as well as convicts sentenced to death for offence committed when they were minors. In 2020, she was the subject of a documentary. In 2021, Nasrin Sotoudeh was named in Time magazine's Most Influential People in the World list.
Hussein-Ali Montazeri was an Iranian Shia Islamic democracy advocate, theologian, human rights activist, and writer. An influential leader of the Iranian Revolution, Montazeri was expected to succeed the revolution's Supreme Leader Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini before having a fall out with the latter which cost him the position of the supreme leader. Hussein-Ali Montazeri is still revered in Iran.
Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was an Islamic ideologist and political activist who traveled across the Muslim world in late-19th century. A fierce advocate of Hindu–Muslim unity in India and Pan-Islamic unity in Europe, Al-Afghani is credited with co-founding Islamic Modernism. Many educational institutions, hospitals, and roads in Afghanistan are named in his honor.
Maryam Namazie is a British-Iranian secularist, human rights activist, communist, commentator, and broadcaster. Namazie has had a huge impact on the lives of refugees around the world. In the USA, she co-founded the Committee for Humanitarian Assistance to Iranian Refugees. Maryam Namazie is also an outspoken critic of cultural relativism and the oppression of women in some Muslim countries.
Ruhollah Zam was an Iranian journalist and activist remembered for founding and operating Amadnews, a popular Telegram channel. During the 2017–2018 Iranian protests, he played an important role by running an anti-government forum which the officials claimed incited the protests. Charged with "corruption on earth," Ruhollah Zam was sentenced to death and executed in 2020 at the age of 42.
Majid Kavousifar was an Iranian murderer who was found guilty of killing Judge Masoud Ahmadi Moghaddasi. Apart from the murder of the judge, Majid and his nephew Hossein were also convicted of several armed bank robberies. Photos of Majid smiling and waving at Hossein moments before their execution in public in Tehran, Iran went viral on the internet in 2007.
Simin Behbahani was a prominent Iranian lyricist, contemporary poet, and activist. An icon of present-day Persian poetry, Behbahani was twice nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature. Simin Behbahani also received other prominent awards such as the Janus Pannonius Poetry Prize and Carl von Ossietzky Medal.
Mirza Reza Kermani was an Iranian activist and follower of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. He is best remembered for killing King Nasser-al-Din. Kermani, along with other followers of al-Afghani, was demanding a just rule from the Qajar dynasty before killing the king. Mirza Reza Kermani was captured and executed in public by hanging on August 10, 1896.
Bozorg Alavi was an Iranian writer, novelist, and political intellectual. In 1941, he became a founding member of the communist Tudeh Party of Iran. The party proved to be influential in its initial years. After the 1953 coup against Premier Mohammad Mossadegh, Alavi went into exile and spent the rest of his life in East Germany.
Parvin Ardalan is an Iranian writer, journalist, and leading women's rights activist. Her efforts and struggles for gender equality in Iran earned her the prestigious Olof Palme Prize in 2007. In 2012, Parvin Ardalan was granted permanent residency by the Swedish Migration Board.