Ahmad Zeidabadi

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Ahmad Zeidabadi is an Iranian journalist, political analyst, who also has taught political science at Tehran University. His articles have appeared in newspapers and media including Rooz Online and BBC Persian.

Research and teaching

The Iranian Studies Group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a recorded lecture by him on "Ethnic Conflicts in Iran".[1]

Dissent and imprisonment

He was imprisoned for protests in 2001, under charges of insulting and defaming the authorities (toheen va ahanet be masoul'an), "spreading lies" (nashr-e akazi'b), "disturbing public opinion" (tashvish-e azhan-e 'omumi) and "attacking national security" (bar ham zadan-e amniyat-e milli) [2]

An director of the alumni association of the Advar Takhim student organization, he commented on its political activism in 2007, explaining activists were becoming timid for more reasons than the direct threat from government authorities. "The fact is that the domestic and international conditions of Iran have become so complex that it is not possible to present an accurate picture or analysis of the situation. Situations that are not easy to analyze and where predictions are not easy to make, normally lead to conservatism." [3]He has been imprisoned for political dissent.[4] "the director of Advar Tahkim Organization and a prominent journalist, was detained on 13 June at his home. A person posing as a delivery man lured him out of his house and unidentified agents kidnapped and took him away. In protest against the illegal manner of his detention, lack of charges against him, and the conditions of his detention, Zaidabadi was on a hunger strike during the first 17 days of his detention.

His wife said she first was allowed to visit after 65 days; he said he had been kept in solitary confinement and sensory deprivation for 35 days, becoming suicidal. He told her that "interrogators had asked him to give guarantees that he would never engage in political activism." Since that visit, she has had no contact, and his lawyer, Mohammad Sharif, also has had no access."

The "wiped off the map" controversy

In a New York Times interview over the "wiped off the map" phrase in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 2005 speech, he said "It seems that in the early days of the revolution the word 'map' was used because it appeared to be the best meaningful translation for what he said. The words 'sahneh roozgar' are metaphorical and do not refer to anything specific. Maybe it was interpreted as 'book of countries,' and the closest thing to that was a map. Since then, we have often heard Israel bayad az naghshe jographya mahv gardad — Israel must be wiped off the geographical map. Hard-liners have used it in their speeches."[5]

His comments need to be read closely; he agrees that some Iranian politicans have said Israel should be wiped off the map, but that Ahmadinejad did not use those words in the speech in question.


He is an alumnus of Tehran University.