Our Friend and Colleague Parichehr Farzam is Gone

Original post, June 6, 2017

Parichehr Farzam came to the United States from her native Iran after the takeover by the mullahs in 1979-80. Before emigrating to the U.S. through France almost four decades ago, she had held high-level government positions in her native Iran. Her obituary in the WASHINGTON POST mentions that she was the daughter of an Iranian princess by the name of Talat-el-Molouk Azodi Qajar.

A fighter for civil and women’s rights both In her native and adopted countries, Parichehr became an international broadcaster for the United States government advancing to the position of White House correspondent, first for Radio Farda and then for the VOA Persian Service, covering the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Parichehr served the Union and bargaining unit as a member of the Executive Board of AFGE Local 1812 and was also the Women’s Issues Coordinator for the Local. She was an extremely generous person especially with her time while representing her colleagues at work. She passed away after a long battle with cancer. Another battle she waged was against what she believed were discriminatory practices in the Agency in its disparate treatment and compensation of employees who worked for the VOA language services and the English services. She filed an EEO case when she found out that as a White House correspondent, for a VOA language service (Persian/Farsi), her salary was at least a full grade lower than the White House correspondent for VOA Central News who happened to be male.

This apparently drew the wrath of Agency officials. After filing her EEO complaint against the Agency she was instructed to cease acting as a White House correspondent. She did not accept this and continued, even at the risk of insubordination, to file reports from the White House. At the same time Parichehr was battling the BBG bureaucracy she was also battling cancer. Due to the effects of chemotherapy, she would often find it impossible to report to work. In answer, Agency officials put her on leave without pay before deciding to remove her entirely from Federal Service despite her many years of honorable service to her adopted country and the fact that she was losing her battle with the dread disease.

A little over a month after the Agency officially removed Parichehr from Federal Service she passed away.

To the very end, and true to her nature, Parichehr Farzam remained unbowed and undefeated.

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