Persian Voices: Rights of Man in Iran, Syria, and Palestine

When hearing the word ‘rights’ in Iran, the bureaucrat understands it to mean ‘salary’, or the due compensation for his double-crossing and bungling inefficiency. The theological student perceives its meaning as ‘fidelity’ and ‘loyalty’, and the average person (‘avamm) confuses its meaning with ‘delinquency’. Elements of this natural contract have been written on clay, rock, skin, or paper, in some order or other, and have been called the rights of man. In Iran, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine, these rights and duties have been articulated through prophets and are called the commands of God.

—Treatise, Ali Akbar Dehkhoda, 1907-1908


An Iranian Modernist Project: Ali Akbar Dehkhoda’s Writings in the Constitutional Period

H.E. Chehabi/Vanessa Martin (eds.): Iran’s Constitutional Revolution Popular Politics, Cultural Transformations, and Transnational Connections. Chapter 11, page 198.