Rebel Citizen

Interview with Mohsen Kadivar

by Nazy Kaviani
Dr. Mohsen Kadivar, was a guest speaker at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California in Oakland on Saturday, July 24, 2010. Ari Siletz and I went to see him and to interview him for a few minutes. Below is my photo essay/interview with him. Here's the text of Ari's interview. You can read about Dr. Kadivar on his website. Here is Dr. Kadivar’s biography from Wikipedia.

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Dear Nazy

by Esther on

Thank you for your beautifully human portrait!  It's inspired me to read Ari's interview (soon!).

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Thanks dear Nazy for sharing these photos

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Every voice counts! Every action counts!



by Golinedairani on

"چون ايران نباشد تن من مباد" He is simply honest brilliant and can answer any question presented to him I have sat and spoken with Dr. Kadivar on 3 seperate occasions and each time was more enlightening than the previous

Hoshang Targol

I forgot to thank Ms. Kaviani & Mr. Siltez for their work

by Hoshang Targol on

and  providing the opportunity  once again, for reminding all of us what kind of backward, conservative, indeed reactionary "intellectuals" we 're dealing with.

Hoshang Targol

It baffles the mind that our "intellectual" cleric after all the

by Hoshang Targol on

turmoil, and trauma our society has been through, is now considering "modifying" his view on " Valie Faghieh" from absolutist to "relative!!!!"

If he had spent all these past few years in jail and had no access to any sources this might have been ( might have been justified) but what is his exucse while he's spent all this time outside of Iran, around all these academic centers in Europe and the US.

Has he ever heard of, read anything from  Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, Schmitt,... we ARE living in the 21st century, aren't we?

Kadivar's  "ideas" on politics is so ridiculesly outdated it doesn't even merit a response. With "intellectuals " like this who needs dictators?!?!? 


Nazy Jaan,

by oktaby on

You did a great job as usual.

I wish you had not picked him as your subject. 


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Sheila K

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Glad you are able to predict the future. Did you self appoint yourself or were appointed by the IRI? What gives you the right to speak for others.

In any event any free nation must be protected from tyrrany of the majority. That requires a bill of rights and secularism. Not the decree of self appointed know-it-alls like you.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Soosan Khanoom

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Being brave means nothing. If you use your bravery in worthless pursuites. Real heroes are not the ones who spend their time in jail. They are the ones who build nations.

People who both before and after the revolution put their abilities to real use.Making life better for people.

Not philosophizing mindless gibberish. Trying to make sense out of a hodgepodge of Islam. These people destroy not build. I take a wise coward over a brave fool.

Sheila K

People's Consent

by Sheila K on

The key to democracy issue in Iran: people's consent. If they were to hold another election between Secular or Islamic Republic, majority will vote for the latter. Iranian people are deeply religious.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


are we wasting time with Islamist freaks? These pseudo intellectuals are a dime a dozen. All worthless and feeble minded due to Islam poisoning. Is it that there are no intelligent people left to read this mad man's ravings? 

I am for freedom. But there are better ways to spend time than to listen to Islamist garbage. 

Until we stop idolizing these nuts we are to remain stuck in hell of Islam. Thankfully fewer people are paying attention to them by the day. They are a dying breed. Good bye and good riddance to Iranian Islamic Pseudo Intellectuals aka "An - tellectuals".

Bye Bye!

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

i didn't mean to attack kadivar based on that particular topic.  the effect of internet and free speech is paradoxical. it allows anonymous users twist the truth while enabling others to reveal their true beliefs.  at any rate, anyone whose profession is religion such as mr. kadivar must believe in certain moral codes and the religious people tend to have a narrower definition of morality than us fun, happy, freedom-loving people.  time will tell if he's a sheep in wolf's clothing or vice versa. :)

Soosan Khanoom

 I do not judge a book with

by Soosan Khanoom on

 I do not judge a book with its cover. I sat and listened to him that night and found him very honest. He spent many months in Jail.  He is more brave than you guys who just bashing Islam or Akhoonds in general.  

 when are  you going to learn to tolerate  others no matter which religion or school of thoughts one follows?  

you better learn to respect otherwise when you reach power you shall turn to another islamic republic or even worse 

.....  Reza shah came and beat the hell out of women who had hejab .........  khomeni came and beat the hell out of  beehejabs .....  this cycle  will  go on until the day that we learn to tolerate each other 






Nazy Kaviani

Hamsade Jan

by Nazy Kaviani on

I may not have conveyed Kadivar's meaning successfully. Let me try again. Mohsen Kadivar is vehemently against censorship and persecution of people because of their thoughts. He was persecuted for his thoughts and for his writings himself.

It was my understanding from what Mr. Kadivar said that he was generally concerned about a lack of accountability in the cyberspace. More to the point, he was specifically concerned about paid commentators who are hired by states and organizations to commit character assassination of real people with real identities without accountability to anyone. He was very specific about his respect for freedom of expression. He called the treatment of bloggers and journalists by the Iranian government "zaalemaneh," and took serious issue with it.

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

in slide 25, kadivar says  “…[if iran] had an economist as president or in the cabinet.  our economy would only improve…”  oh really!  i guess if tehran had a mayor (or iran had a president) with a phd in traffic engineering, its traffic would only get better.

i'm also not entirely comfortable with his idea of morality on the web and what his definition or preferred restrictions (slide 32) are.  while anonymous commenters may be more rude and careless with regard to their statements on the web, they also may be more honest with expressing their beliefs.

thanks for posting the interview.  i just can't trust a man with a turban on his head.


Good questions!

by Monda on

Your personal background questions help me see Kadivar from a more humanistic angle. The man still carries many fundamental contradictions for me to feel comfortable about his position within a needed democratic movement. However you and Ari managed to give us a more balanced view of him.  Thank you Nazy.  

Multiple Personality Disorder

Dear Nazy,

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Thank you for posting this photo essay.  Regardless of the controversies surrounding Mr. Kadivar, you have done a great job showing the human side of this man.  Iran is a beautiful mosaic, made of many pieces, and he is an interesting piece, to say the least.

Thank you,


Don't know him but 1 day (when we're 6' under ;-) change'll come

by Anonymouse on

I know someone who has a similar story who was very smart and naturally his parents wanted him to be a doctor or engineer but he ended up going to Qom to be a seminary student.  It was very difficult for his parents but he is there none the less studying. 

I don't think there is enough traction for average Iranian to be excited about Islam again.  His career may be in Islam but I think average Iranians are tired of it and based on what they've seen in the past 30 years and most recently during the 2009 elections they definately want major changes and a distance from Islam and religion. 

Everything is sacred


آخوند جماعت


آخوند جماعت حاضر هست همه کار انجام بده فقط پول و قدرت را از دست نده،  همانطور که قبلا گفتم، آخوند خوب آخوند مرده است


گرگی در لباس میش


   به این افراد ،امثال کدیور و گنجی و دیگران اعتماد نکنید.آخر تا به کی میخواهید مثل بز دنبال هر که از راه میرسد بدوید و مرگ بر و درود بر این وآن بگویید؟آخر این اوج حماقت نیست به افرادی که از دل این رژیم ددمنش آمده اند آزاده بگویید و آنها را اپزسیون بخوانید؟فقط به چشمان این افراد بنگرید .چه می بینید؟بلی ،مکر و دروغ و ریا و فحاشی.آخر نادانان بیشتر از ٣٠ سال است این آخوندها و مذهبی ها خون ما را در شیشه کرده اند و هیچ کس در ایران از کوچکترین حق انسانیت برخوردار نیست و باز هم  بدنبال آخوندها و مذهبیون می دوید؟ای که خاک عالم بر سر ما نادانان.سیاستمداری گفت:مردم آنقدر که ما فکر میکنیم احمق نیستند ،بلکه خیلی احمقترند.