How Shohreh Aghdashloo’s Role as UN Undersecretary in Expanse on SyFy is Historic for Minorities on Television

By Iman Sadri

July 22, 2017

Shohreh Aghdashloo is no stranger to playing powerful women on screen. She played Commodore Paris, an advisor who calls the shots to Chris Pine’s character Captain Kirk, in last summer’s blockbuster hit Star Trek Beyond. She played Dr. Kavita Rao in the X-Men : The Last Stand. She played the enduring Nadereh in the House of Sand and Fog. She played the unforgettable Dina Araz in 24.

In Expanse on SyFy, Aghashloo’s character UN Undersecretary Avasarala, is not just thick skinned, but in a position of political power. She is on Earth working to prevent war between Earth and Mars. She is in the drivers seat of power to demand a peace summit.

THE EXPANSE — Season:1 — Pictured: Shohreh Aghdashloo as Chrisjen Avasarala — (Photo by: Amanda Demme/Syfy)

Shohreh Aghdashloo won an Emmy for another brave character, the wife of Saddam Hussein, Sajida, in the HBO limited series House of Saddam. And was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in House of Sand and Fog playing a wife to Ben Kingsley’s character; a woman of strength trying to keep it all together, despite much turmoil and hardship. In Expanse, Aghdashloo’s power helps keep planets from destroying each other. This political power is a boon for minorities on television.

Shohreh’s character as UN Undersecretary is one of prestige and rank. Her character plays a key decision maker for not just the world but the entire Solar System. This is an achievement for not just minority women, but all women. When we spoke to Shohreh at The Promise Hollywood premiere we reminded her that she is the defininitive Prime Time Persian with her vast television filmography. And one now with Prime Time power with her role in Expanse.

And if a solid biopic script of Benazir Bhutto came along, that would be the next great role of power for Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Iman Sadri is the founder of The Persian Observer

Shohreh Aghdashloo in Expanse (Image Credit