2010 May Event: The Plight of Religious Minorities in Iran


Discussion Panel: The Plight Of Religious Minorities In Iran
Date: May 16th, 2010 – 3:00 To 6:00pm
Location:UCSD Multipurpose Room


On the panel participating: Soodabeh Eshraghi and Faryar Nikbakht

Soodabeh Eshraghi

Soodi Eshraghi was born and raised in Iran in a Muslim family. In 1977, Soodi and her husband moved to the United States to pursue higher education. She became a member of the Baha’i Faith in the United States in 1978.She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Economics from the University of San Francisco. Her two children were born and raised here in the United States. Her daughter is a juvenile dependency attorney primarily children that are in foster care and her son is currently a student at USC pursuing his masters in Accounting. Soodi is very proud of her children and considers raising two individuals who are not only productive members of society but also share her passion of helping humanity the greatest accomplishment of her life

Soodi’s professional experience spans a period of 30 years working for a variety of organizations in Management and Finance. She is currently employed at AnalyticsPoint Inc., a software consulting company as their Business Development Manager.

She has been an active member of the Baha’i Faith and served as a member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Thousand Oaks for 15 years and is now serving on the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Los Angeles. She has served on a variety of causes such as Human Rights Award Committee, Race Unity Day Celebration, Day of Caring, Beach Clean-Up Day and many others.

She has offered a workshop titled “Role and Status of Women in Islam, facts, myth and fiction” a comparison with other world religions- Judaism, Christianity and the Baha’i Faith- at a Women’s Day Conference in Ventura County and was asked to give the same talk at a Junior High School in Simi Valley. She has also given many public talks such as “Equality of Women and Men, Two Wings of a Bird”, “Inter-Religious Marriage” and “Life after Life, our Never Ending Spiritual Journey”.

She has represented the Baha’i Faith on numerous occasions, some of the more recent ones being as a co-panelist at a sponsored event of the Focolare Movement at USC and also speaking on the plight of the Iranian Baha’i Community on KPFK radio. Soodi has a strong passion for promoting equality of women and men, empowering women, unity of all religions, cultural awareness and universal love and peace.


Faryar Nikbakht

Faryar Nikbakht is an Iranian political and equal rights activist.

xfaryar.jpg.pagespeed.ic.h_7Sg9ajd0 His list of minority rights acitivities include:

  1. Founder and active member of “Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran”, (CRMRI), advocating equal rights for all Iranians (1997- Present)
  2. Active member, researcher and consultant to “Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History” ,CIJOH, (1995-2006); member, CIJOH board of advisors.
  3. Public Affairs Director of “Council of Iranian American Jewish Organizations”, in charge of contacts with US State Department, Congress, US Commission on International Religious Freedom and etc.(1999-2005)
  4. Special Campaigns and Issues:
    1. Activities regarding missing Jewish boys and men in Iran, in cooperation with “Families of Jewish Prisoners in Iran” (2000-2005)
    2. Leading role in the international campaign to defend the 13 Iranian Jews in Shiraz (1999-2001)
    3. Issues of Hate crimes against Iranian minorities in the US.

Mansoor Godarz Lavaee

Born in 1943 in Village of Barbarod Ali Godarz, Mansoor Godarz Lavaee is a member of a Zorostian faith. After completing his 2 year military service, he graduated in petro-chemical engineering of Abadan University. Worked for petro-chemical industries of Iran in various locations until he was forced to leave Iran in 1983 for fear of arrest and the prosecution by the regime. At the time, the regime was pressuring non Muslims to convert and take part in Friday prayers. He being a Mojavesyan (the terminology used by the mullahs for Zoroastrians) was being harassed by the regime for his activities for human rights and the rights of religious minorities. During the revolution he was active in various workers strike committees. After leaving Iran in 1983, he continued his activities for human rights in Iran. After leaving Iran in 1983, he continued his activities for human rights in Iran. He joined the National Council of Resistance of Iran in 1986. He founded “Society in Defense of Iranian Religious Minorities” in 1992, which Is well known in US Congress and European Parliament. Mr. Lavaee is married and, has two grown children and one grand child.