Saturday, January 30, 2010

Seminar: Green Movement and national minorities in Iran

Speaker: Dr Said Shams

Date and Time: 26th February 2010, @6:00

Venue: SOAS 10 Thornhaugh Street WC1H 0XG, London

Organized by Kurdish Studies and Students Organisation (KSSO) and Kurdish

Society at SOAS(KSSOAS)

Seminar Abstract

The recent resistance against the Islamic regime and cry for freedom in Iran, labelled as ‘the Green Movement’, has taken the focus of attentions. It all started when the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009, was disputed by the two defeated candidates, Mir Hussein Mousavi and the former speaker of parliament and senior cleric, Mehdi Karroubi. In the past seven months despite increased security, official warnings and often brutal crackdowns on opposition figures, journalists and ordinary demonstrators, mass protests have increasingly taken place. In fact, the continued mass protests across the country, despite harsh security measures, turned the Green Movement into a nationwide uprising against the regime.

In this speech, Said examines the weight of the national minority communities in the politics of the Green Movement. He argues that the right national minorities in Iran has received little attention in the recent oppositional movement. This speech enlarges upon this topic using political perspective and conceptual framework characteristic of the recent Iranian movement aiming at the human rights and democracy. The emergence of intellectual debates on reformism, establishment of the law-state, the reaffirmation of Persian nationalism as hegemonic and liberating discourse, are shared characteristics which shed lights on democratic developments that is currently occurring in Iran. The speech suggests that by a continued silence about the multi-national fabric of Iranian society and by reluctance over multi-ethnic definitions of the conditions of citizenship, the leaders of the Green Movement are increasingly turn away from liberal and democratic rhetoric towards the less privileged nationalities of Iran. It is argued that a democratic movement must have a democratic agenda. In Iranian’s context, it must not only aim for the human rights values but must also incorporate national rights and justices for peoples of Iran.


Said Shams was born and educated in Iran. From the early 1970s, he was an active revolutionary. After the revolution of 1979, he continued his political activities, subsequently he lost his job as teacher and suffered persecution and then repeated threats before he was able to immigrate to the UK in 1990 where he continued his studies: B.A. (University of East London, and PhD (Royal Holloway). He managed a range of projects and conducted researches and surveys from 1996 to 2008 while working for the voluntary sector in London. He is presently an independent researcher. Further information on