Cause and Consequences of the Current Protests in Iran

Guest speaker: Mehrzad Boroujerdi (Vice Provost and Dean of College of Arts, Sciences, and Education at Missouri University of Science and Technology)

NOVEMBER 16th, 2022

Mehrzad Boroujerdi's biography

Mehrzad Boroujerdi is Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Previously he was a Professor of Government and International Affairs and Director of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, and before that, professor of political science at Syracuse University.

Boroujerdi is the author or co-author of four books: Post-revolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook, published in 2018; Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and Theory of Statecraft, published in 2013; Tarashidam, Parastidam, Shikastam: Guftarhay-i dar Siyasat va Huvyiyat-i Irani (I Carved, Worshiped and Shattered: Essays on Iranian Politics and Identity), published in 2010; and Iranian Intellectuals and the West: Tormented Triumph of Nativism, published in 1996.

Dr. Boroujerdi has been President of the Association for Iranian Studies, a fellow of the American Council on Education, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, a visiting scholar at UCLA, a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute (Washington, D.C.), and a Co-PI of Iran Data Portal. Dr. Boroujerdi is frequently consulted by both government entities and such national and international media outlets as Al Jazeera, Associated Press, Economist, Guardian, LA Times, NPR, New York Times, Reuters, Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

He earned a Ph.D. in international relations from The American University (Washington, D.C.) in 1990, a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern University in 1985, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston University in 1983. You can find more information about Mehrzad’s area of research here.

Meeting report

In this special session of the fly bottle, the panelists posed a series of questions to Dr. Boroujerdi. The topics were designed around four subjects to address the ongoing political uprising in Iran both in terms of its historical as well as contemporary dimensions. The existential quests of Iranians to liberate themselves from the long imposing chains of ideological constructs to freely regulate their lifestyle was addressed while expounding the slogan of “woman, Life, Freedom.” We asked Dr. Boroujerdi to share his research on Iranian intellectuals to speak about the role they could play in the absence of organized political parties in honing a collective vision and clarifying the path forward. Mehrzad referred to his last book,” Postrevolutionary Iran: A Political Handbook,” to paint a statistical study of the power structure in Iran to unravel its intricate system of relations. Furthermore, in response to a question about the history of conflicts in the region, Dr. Broujerdi drew a comparison between uprisings in various countries and focused specifically on the ones in the Middle East to highlight their similarities. He pointed to the roadblocks that Iranians might face in order to obtain their democratic aspirations. While Dr. Boroujerdi emphasized the slow transition of essences in societies and the communal quest to redefine shared values, we inquired whether in Iran today, we can witness a rapid mutation, a historical movement to transition to a new order; whether the Iranians have reached a collective historical consciousness that now demands a more modern political structure to match its found dimensions. The conversation turned out to be quite passionate, while Dr. Boroujerdi’s knowledge and expertise on the subject helped lay out an objective understanding of the subjects discussed.