American Scholar Held in Iran

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

A U.S. scholar held in Iran is the subject of diplomatic talks. Iran native Haleh Esfandiari is affiliated with the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. When her passports were stolen on a recent visit to Iran, she was jailed as a spy.


Not everyone is welcome across the Persian Gulf in Iran. An American scholar has been thrown into prison there. Haleh Esfandiari directs the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a respected think-tank in Washington, D.C. She is a native of Iran. She fled after the revolution in 1979. And she sometimes returns there.

At the end of her latest visit, she had her passports stolen. The Wilson Center says she was then repeatedly questioned as if she might be a spy, and then she was finally jailed. People demanding her release include Lee Hamilton, the prominent former congressman who heads the Wilson Center now and who suggests that not every part of Iran's government may realize what it's done.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.