Here’s to 10 years together!

Jul 24, 20190 comments

Today United for Iran turns ten years old.

What a journey it has been.

Like so many of you, I was deeply inspired by the people demanding freedom and accountability in the aftermath of Iran’s 2009 presidential election. I was also deeply alarmed by the violent government response. I began to imagine organizing a “Global Day of Action” to stand in solidarity with brothers and sisters inside Iran.

I searched the web for “Iran and human rights” and cold-called Hadi Ghaemi of The Center for Human Rights in Iran. Together, Hadi and I worked with a network of hundreds of selfless volunteers to show people in Iran we are with them.

July 25th, 2009 was the Global Day of Action. More than 100,000 people poured into the streets of 110 cities around the world to demand human rights and fair elections in Iran. Seven Nobel Peace Laureates and the band U2 expressed their support. The Global Day of Action turned out to be the largest day of solidarity for people of Iran in history. It still is.

Shortly after that, United for Iran was born.

Ten years later, we are blessed to be part of a vibrant, dedicated community of people and organizations fighting for human rights in Iran.

United for Iran has expanded from its early days as a campaigning organization. Our Iran Prison Atlas has drawn attention to the cases of over 4,800 people imprisoned by Iranian authorities mostly for expressing their views, practicing their faith, or partaking in activism.

Through our IranCubator project we have supported grassroots activists and developed dozens of civic technology mobile applications that allow ordinary Iranians to better access their basic rights. Hamdam, a period tracker, provides women information on their health care and legal rights. The Toranj application offers a wide range of resources to victims of domestic abuse including emergency call access and a comprehensive legal support handbook. Haami, a substance abuse recovery app, has provided networks and connections with the leading recovery programs in Iran. In all, our apps have been used over 3,000,000 times and over 250,000 hours. They have uplifted Iranian women, minorities, children, human rights defenders and more. We are proud of our work at United for Iran and there is a lot more to do.



There are hard days for all of us, no doubt. Emotions can run high. Sometimes it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But every one of our endeavors has produced a small but valuable change and those small changes add up.
We learn as we go. And we won’t quit because we believe that if we have a vision of a world different than the one in which we live, it is up to us to create it.Cornel West said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” United for Iran is how we manifest our love. We are moved everyday to work for civil liberties and human rights in Iran and always strive to treat our community with respect.

We want to express our gratitude to every one of you. Our achievements over the last ten years would have been impossible without you. You have sustained us through the years–– not just financially, but with your partnership and trust.