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Discussion panel at Boise State raises awareness of ongoing movement in Iran

The event aimed to bring people together to discuss the factors behind the 'Women Life Freedom' movement.

BOISE, Idaho — Members of the community aimed to raise awareness of the ongoing movement in Iran by hosting a discussion panel at Boise State University Friday.

One Boise group has been putting on events around the 'Women Life Freedom' movement. Friday's discussion was organized to bring people together to have a conversation about the political science and historical aspects of the Iran movement.

The discussion comes after months of international anti-Iran government protests that were sparked after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last September.

Arvin Farid is an Iranian-American, and one of the organizers of the discussion. He noticed that throughout the protests, people have been expressing many different opinions about what could lead to a successful movement. 

"I faced a lot of questions, and thought we can we could kill a couple of birds with one stone. Have two groups of panelists to share the historical point of view, and the political science predictions and analysis," Farid said. "And shed light on the recent events, history connection between the US and Iran, and why Americans should care, or why the government of the US should do something or not, and how can we help this movement succeed. Or how can we at least agree on how to help this cause."

Four professors and scholars were part of the panel, two of them affiliated with Boise State University. They spoke to a room of people on campus, and through a Zoom call. While the event was held on campus, it was open to the public, and people from varying age groups and background were in the crowd. 

Farid said the event wanted to start a civil conversation to help attendees learn, discusses, and tolerate each others opinions about the movement in Iran.

"I think the more educated everybody gets, and the more we learn from the history and science of this, the easier it will be to discuss," Farid said.

The discussion covered topics including the history of Iran, cultural values vs. political views, women's empowerment, oil, the influence of the Cold War and other democratic movements. 

Organizers also hope the discussion sparks more conversations throughout the community.  

"This civil conversation, hopefully it percolates in different factions of the population here in the States," Farid said. 

The panel was titled 'Iran: Historic and Recent Movements toward Democracy'. The panelists were Dr. Houchang Chehabi, Dr. Pardis Minuchehr, Dr. Michael Zirinsky, and Dr. Julie VanDusky-Allen. 

In December, the United Nations voted to remove Iran from the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) for the remainder of its term, ending in 2026. 

At least 481 people, including 64 children, have been killed in Iran's nationwide protests, according to Norway-based nonprofit Iran Human Rights

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