Thursday, December 10, 2015

Professor Interrogated by Iran About Inner Workings of Think Tank

Haleh Esfandiari, a scholar who spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison in 2007, says that she was interrogated by the Iranians about her work at the Washington, DC-based think tank Wilson Center.  Here is more from The Washington Diplomat:
Haleh Esfandiari is perhaps best known for spending 105 days in solitary confinement in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in 2007, but it was her highly respected work as director of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center in D.C. that put her behind bars.
Not that the Iran-born professor, author and think tank scholar did anything wrong. Quite the contrary, she had simply spent a lifetime studying, dissecting and challenging Middle Eastern politics, culture and policy. The Iranian government, however, saw her as part of a subversive U.S. plot to overthrow the clerical regime.
Iranian intelligence spent months interrogating Esfandiari on the inner workings of the Wilson Center and her connections to opposition activists inside Iran. Back home, the scholar’s friends and family mobilized a high-profile campaign to get her released.
Esfandiari, a former journalist in Iran who founded the Wilson Center’s Middle East Program in 1997, was eventually released and wrote a book about her experience titled “My Prison, My Home: One Woman’s Story of Captivity in Iran.” The book was published in 2009 and Esfandiari went back to the Wilson Center to resume her leadership of the Middle East Program.

Here is the Wilson Center biography of Dr. Esfandiari, which notes that she is no longer the Director of the Middle East Program at the think tank.