Famous Iranian Activists

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Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh
5
Birthdate: February 14, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: January 25, 1936

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.

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Shirin Ebadi
(Human Rights Activist)
Shirin Ebadi
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hamadan

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.

 3 
Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran
(Founder and leader of the self-styled National Council of Iran)
Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran
0
Birthdate: October 31, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

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. 

 4 
Shirin Neshat
(Artist, Activist)
Shirin Neshat
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Qazvin

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.

 5 
Nasrin Sotoudeh
(Iranian Human Rights Lawyer)
Nasrin Sotoudeh
2
Birthdate: May 30, 1963
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

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.

Jamal al-Din al-Afghani
3
Birthdate: 1838 AD
Birthplace: Asadabad
Died: March 9, 1897

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.

 7 
Ruhollah Zam
(Journalist, Activist)
Ruhollah Zam
0
Birthdate: July 27, 1978
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ray, Iran
Died: December 12, 2020

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. 

 8 
Maryam Namazie
(Human rights activist, Politician)
Maryam Namazie
0
Birthdate: 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

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.

 9 
Hussein-Ali Montazeri
(Iranian Shia Islamic Writer and Former Deputy Supreme Leader of Iran (1985 - 1989))
Hussein-Ali Montazeri
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1922
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Najafabad, Iran
Died: December 19, 2009

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.

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Majid Kavousifar
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Birthplace: Iran
Died: August 2, 2007

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.

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Simin Behbahani
(Iranian Contemporary Poet, Lyricist and Activist Known for Her Poems in a Ghazal-Style of Poetic Form)
Simin Behbahani
1
Birthdate: July 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran
Died: August 19, 2014

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.

 12 
Mirza Reza Kermani
0
Birthdate: 1854 AD
Birthplace: Kerman, Iran
Died: August 12, 1896

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.

 13 
Parvin Ardalan
(Women's rights activist)
Parvin Ardalan
0
Birthdate: 1967 AD
Birthplace: Tehran, Iran

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.