Apr.4 – Starting a Conversation with Pegah Behroozi Nobar: Dispossession of Baha’is in Iran

Join PhD candidate Pegah Behroozi Nobar for the next Starting a Conversation

Tuesday, April 4
12:00 to 1:00 pm (PST)
Arts 368 | Zoom

E:mail: icer.ok@ubc.ca for the Zoom link

Abstract: The talk will highlight the struggles of the Baha’i community in Iran, with a pivotal focus on
dispossession of assets and properties belonging to the Baha’i community as a powerful
motive for corrupt and politically well-connected interest groups. The Baha’is in Iran are a
religious minority that have been targeted by the Islamic Republic Regime of Iran, as their
emergence in the 19th century was seen as a direct challenge to the monopoly of the Shi’a
clergy over the religious life of the country. The article uses the recent government attack on the
village of Roshankouh as a case study to highlight some of the material and political economic
dynamics behind the systematic attacks on the Baha’i community. The attack was carried out by
more than two hundred policemen and government functionaries from the ministry of Agricultural
Jihad, the Housing Foundation, and the Organization of Natural Resources, with the aim of
confiscating 20 hectares of agricultural land belonging to Baha’i farmers and demolishing six
homes belonging to them.

The talk explores the historical and ideological particularities of the animosity of the Islamic
Republic Regime of Iran against the Baha’is, while emphasizing that the experiences of the
Baha’is in Iran are part of the wider struggle for democracy and the full rights of citizenship that
all sectors of Iranian society are now engaged in. This Starting the Conversation draws attention
to the significance of this issue that has been overlooked by both Persian and English-language

Bio: As a member of Iran’s Baha’i minority community for over 30 years, Pegah Behroozi Nobar has
witnessed firsthand the struggles of this marginalized group. Despite being a young female
scholar, she was denid access to higher education and employment due to her faith. As a
result, Pegah completed her bachelor degree through an informal institution called Baha’i Institute for
Higher Education (BIHE). Now, she is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia

Pegah focuses her research on grassroots strategies for addressing the housing needs of Iran’s
urban poor. After the recent attacks on the Baha’i community in Roshankouh, she conducted
interviews with locals and analyzed Persian-language articles and news.