Freedom for Fariba, Freedom for Research

Editorial by Alain Dieckhoff, Director of CERI

At the beginning of September, CERI returned to work after the summer break and we have progressively resumed our normal activities. Yet this new academic year has started with a bitter taste because our colleague Fariba Adelkhah, Sciences Po Research Director, is absent: she was arrested in Iran in June 2019 and is still in prison.

As has been the case for many years, Fariba conducted her research on contemporary Iran in an open and transparent way. After a detour of several years doing research on Afghanistan, she had returned to Iran where she had for so long worked to help better understand the complexity of this “post–Islamic revolution” society. Faithful to the proven anthropological method, Fariba had begun long-term fieldwork, guided by one sole ambition: the thirst for a better knowledge of this society.

Her activities have always been—should we even need to specify it?—strictly academic and Fariba Adelkhah had no public political commitment. We can therefore only make unverifiable suppositions about why some within the Islamic Republic have decided to target a researcher who has always done her research in a transparent way.