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Omid Memarian
Omid Memarian is a journalist and has contributed extensively to the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and the Daily Beast, and has published Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal,, San Francisco Chronicle, Politico and OpenDemocracy.

A World Peace Fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (2007-2009), he is the recipient of a "Human Rights Defender Award” (2005), the highest honor given by the Human Rights Watch. As an analyst, he has appeared on MSNBC, NBC, BBC, and Aljazeera amongst others.

Memarian is passionate about art and is an active collector of emerging international photographers and painters. His own photos were included in an art book compilation, “The Great Recession” (2008), published by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the editor of Sketches of Iran (2013), a collection of 40 cartoons and essays.

Entries by Omid Memarian

New Politicized Visa Restrictions Harm Iranians and Undermine America's Core Values

(5) Comments | Posted December 17, 2015 | 12:11 PM


In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, it is only natural and correct that the United States should once again reevaluate its border control and visa policies. But it defies reason that the...

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President Rouhani, It's Time to Make Good on Your Human Rights Promise

(11) Comments | Posted October 2, 2015 | 1:19 PM


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spent five days in New York, culminating his speech during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, in which he repeatedly stressed the need for implementing the nuclear agreement. What he did not speak...

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"Ornate Activate," the Crossroad of Art and Identity

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 7:12 PM

Chilling and exhilarating, "Ornate Activate" -- the exhibition by the South Asian Women's Creative Collective, at Manhattan's Shirin Gallery -- featured 21 art works by female artists from Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

The exhibition featured a diverse range of artwork by women artists, both from...

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Why Hassan Rouhani Should Facilitate the Release of Washington Post Reporter

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 5:35 PM

Since the arrest of two journalists, Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a reporter for the UAE's National Newspaper, the Iranian government has refused to explain why they have been arrested. Nonetheless, all surrounding circumstances indicate that their arrests fall into a...

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'To Light a Candle': A Testimony on Severe Condition of Baha'is in Iran

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 9:01 PM

There are many topics in Iran which journalists, activists, and artists can not touch on. Amongst these, the devastating quality of life of the of Baha'i religious minority is likely the most challenging and invisible; a dark stain on Iranian society, with the torment of thousands of people concealed just...

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Why Iran Should Appoint a New Ambassador to the UN?

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 12:31 PM

Iran's decision to resist replacing Hamid Aboutalebi, as the Islamic Republic's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, is only increasing frustrations both in Tehran and Washington.

Widely considered a moderate diplomat, Aboutalebi, Iran's former ambassador to Belgium, Australia, and the European Union...

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Was Iran's Nominee for the UN Ambassador Involved in the 1979 Hostage Taking?

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 9:01 PM

While a number of U.S.-based publications have raised serious questions that Iran's nominee for the UN ambassador is amongst students who took 53 American diplomats hostage for 444 days in 1979, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh who was amongst the leading figures of occupying the U.S. embassy, told me in an...

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Erich Ferrari on the 5+1 Nuclear Talks: Iran vs. Sanctions Architects

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 5:37 PM

While the Iranian negotiators sit down to nuclear talks with 5+1 in Vienna this week, Erich Ferrari, a lawyer who provides counsel to those who wish to get off the sanctions list, says the Iranians are very smart and sophisticated negotiators, but on the issue of...

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The Role of 'Deceptive DNA' in the US-Iran Talks

(2) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 4:08 PM

On October 23, an Iranian hardliner newspaper, Kayhan, which has done everything possible to undermine President Rouhani's efforts in seeking rapprochement with Washington in its numerous articles and op-eds, asked the Iranian government to boycott any talks with Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman present, accentuating conservatives' and the Supreme Leader's...

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Why Should Hassan (Rouhani) Meet with Hussein (Obama)?

(7) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 11:10 AM

If Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani is really interested in fulfilling his campaign promise of alleviating international sanctions, improving the economy, and reducing tensions with the world, one bold step could be meeting with President Barack Obama during the upcoming UN General Assembly session to be held in September in...

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A Shahnameh Fit for the Ages: The Epic of the Persian Kings

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 2:56 PM

A thousand years ago, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings, was written, capturing the tragedies and joys of the human existence with its wonderful tales of love, loss, deception, adventure, heroes, and anti-heroes. The story has lived on as an undeniable classic throughout the centuries, but how many people...

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A Road Map of Iranian Election Politics: What Led to Rouhani's Victory?

(7) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 3:25 PM

The June 14 Iranian presidential election that resulted in Hassan Rouhani's victory astonished many observers. Many feared that this vote would end in the same chaos as the 2009 election, ensuring a pre-determined candidate's victory. But this time around, there was no election fraud. And after the ballots were counted,...

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Khamenei Loyalists Slug It Out Over Handling of Nuclear Diplomacy

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 3:04 PM

A review of Iran's domestic politics over the past few weeks can give us a number of insights on what has been simmering unseen over the past four years, and what Iran has to look forward to in the coming years.

First and foremost, the Iranian leadership is not unified....

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The Crossroads of Art and Human Rights: Sketches of Iran (Excerpt)

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 6:03 PM

The following is excerpted from the introduction to Omid Memarian's new book Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights:

One day in January 2003, my friend and colleague Ali Reza Eshraghi republished an old American cartoon in the Hayat No newspaper -- a cartoon the...

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Ban Ki-moon in Tehran: Too Little, Too Late?

(12) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 2:35 PM

Iranian leaders are masterful in manipulating the true reality on the ground in their country and obsessively addicted to taking advantage of any political opportunity to strengthen their own narrative of events. Last week's Non-Alignment Movement Summit in Tehran was one such occasion.

Trapped in two major crises --...

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Iran and the Futility of Denial Diplomacy at the UN Human Rights Council

(6) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 6:42 PM

After a full year of efforts by Iran's human rights diplomats to discredit or ignore the mandate of Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed, 22 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to renew the mandate for another year on March...

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Will Iran's Human Rights Case End Up at the Security Council?

(4) Comments | Posted November 17, 2011 | 1:31 PM

Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, believes that if Tehran does not cooperate with his mandate and continues on the current path in ignoring international mechanisms to monitor the worsening human rights crisis in the country, Iran's human rights case might eventually...

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American Muslims in the Obama Era, 9/11 and What Americans' Don't know About Islam?

(2) Comments | Posted September 14, 2011 | 10:04 AM

I began thinking about sustained reporting on American Muslims at the very beginning of the 2008 presidential primary season. During the primaries and throughout the general election campaign, Islam, Muslim and other related terms were portrayed as slurs -- so much so that then Senator Barack Obama chose to distance...

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Why Did Iran Say "NO" to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights?

(38) Comments | Posted July 5, 2011 | 4:00 PM

Less than a week after the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran, Head of Iran's Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, in a TV interview said, "accepting the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights is not our policy."

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The U.S. Pressures Iran on Human Rights

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2011 | 4:22 PM

Many may be critical of America's human rights policies, particularly its double standards when it comes to the records of its allies in the Middle East and beyond, not to mention in Bahrain. But human rights activists and organizations have welcomed the Obama administration's presence at the Human Rights Council...

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