Mehrangiz Kar is an attorney, writer and activist working toward the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights within the framework of Islamic law in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite her efforts being frequently impeded and curtailed by the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic, she has been an active public defender in Iran’s civil and criminal courts, and has published regularly in several influential and independent Iranian journals. Banned from making public appearances within her country, including conferences, radio and television, Ms. Kar has used international forums as a platform for voicing her opinions and advocating for the democratic, political, legal, constitutional and human rights of the Iranian people. In April of 2000, following her participation in a symposium in Berlin, she was arrested and imprisoned on charges of acting against the national security of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Three of the five charges against her are pending, for which she may again be arrested upon her return.


Sep 2005 – June 2006: Fellow Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University

Sep 2004 – Sep 2005: Radcliffe Institute Fellow, Harvard University

Spring 2004: Visiting Professor, Obstacles to Democracy in Iran Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Culture, Columbia University

Jan 2003 – Present: Visiting Scholar, Washington College of Law, American University

Spring & Fall 2003 and Spring 2004: Visiting Professor, Democracy in Iran University of Virginia

Sep – Dec 2002: Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Oct 2001- Aug 2002: Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, National Endowment for Democracy. Working on a project entitled “The Juridical Foundations of the Crisis of Democracy in Iran” that explores the theory and practice of law within the context of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assess the probability of effecting changes from within the government and establish a democratic political system.

1979 – Present: Attorney-of-law, Islamic Republic of Iran

1968 – Present: Independent Journalist, Islamic Republic of Iran

2000 – 2001: Senior Fellowship, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Japan

1967 – 1970: Labor Law Specialist, The Ministry Of Labor And Social Security, Iran


Member, Bar Association of Iran, 1979 – Present.
In 2000, she was nominated as a candidate to the Board of Directors of the Bar Association but the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic interfered with and annulled her nomination stating that the position exceeded her competence.

Honorary Member, Pen Club of the United States and Canada, 2000.
Nominated while in jail

Board Director, Iranian Pen Club, 1999 – 2000
Persevered in the work despite the targeting and murder of intellectuals and political activists in 1999.

Her attempts to establish a women’s non-governmental organization were thwarted by the intelligence services of the Islamic Republic.


Banned from appearing on radio or television within the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ms. Kar has gained international exposure through appearing on numerous prominent radio and television shows. Recently she has appeared on, among others, Netherlands TV (2001), Finland TV (2001), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2001), Italian TV (2000), and BBC World TV (1996).

Ms. Kar has been interviewed by numerous Iranian and international newspapers, including most recently by The Washington Post (February 15, 2002) and Chicago Tribune (December 2001). She has also been interviewed for several documentary films, among others, the “Iranian Journey” directed by Maysoon Pachachi.