American Scholar Held in Iran

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.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

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.

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