Washington Post reporter’s memoir recounts imprisonment in Iran
As Rezaian languished behind bars in Evin Prison, the high-stakes match was being played over the future of Iran’s nuclear program.
“I was treated as an Iranian but when it came time to make a trade, I was traded as an American,” Rezaian, the son of an Iranian-born father and an American mother, told AFP in an interview. “It is a hypocritical way, but a very Iranian way of doing business.”
Rezaian, 42, who was born and raised in California, recounts his 18-month ordeal in a memoir, “Prisoner,” which came out at the end of January.
Rezaian and his wife, Yeganah, were arrested on July 22, 2014 after he returned from Vienna, where he had covered a negotiating session between Iran and the P5+1 — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
After years of economic sanctions, the talks had officially resumed following the June 2013 election of moderate Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency.
The two sides were working towards an agreement governing Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran insisted was for civilian purposes but Western intelligence agencies suspected had military goals.
Rezaian, who had worked for the Post for two years and was well acquainted with the restrictions on foreign reporters in Iran, was accused by the Iranian authorities of being the station chief for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Tehran.
His Iranian interrogators were particularly suspicious about a quixotic Kickstarter campaign he launched to bring avocados — a fruit that is not found in Iran — to the Islamic Republic.
“To take a Kickstarter project on an avocado farm, such a silly thing, and turn this into proof that you are the CIA station chief in Tehran is ridiculous,” Rezaian said.
Read More: Times of Israel
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