Iranian Journalist Waits For Obama Masih Alinejad came to the United States with one goal in mind: an interview with President Obama. Although Iran prohibits journalists from interviewing American officials, Alinejad boldly proceeded with her request only to have it denied after she traveled to the U.S. She remains in the United States in fear that her government will punish her upon her return. Alinejad explains her extraordinary journey from Tehran to Washington, D.C.
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Iranian Journalist Waits For Obama

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Iranian Journalist Waits For Obama

Iranian Journalist Waits For Obama

Iranian Journalist Waits For Obama

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In the world of Iranian journalism, Masih Alinejad, 33, may be considered a daredevil of sorts.

In 2005, she published the salaries of top Iranian politicians, exposing that many had lied about having taken pay cuts. That same year, she got into a verbal fight with a Muslim cleric in the Iranian Parliament for not having her hair fully covered under her headscarf. A year later, she requested an interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The title of her column: "Talk To Me, Mr. Ahmadinejad, If You Dare To." He declined.

But her best stunt yet may have come last November, right after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency. Iranian journalists are not permitted by their government to interview American officials. In fact, when 11 journalists tried to come to the United States to cover the presidential elections, they were stopped by Iranian officials at the airport and their passports were confiscated.

Alinejad was not deterred. Instead, it fueled her fire. She decided she could take the chance to seek an Obama interview as she was not on Iranian soil.

While spending a year in London studying English, she wrote a letter to then-President-elect Obama requesting an interview. She was granted a journalist visa from the U.S. Embassy in London to come to the United States. But after arriving in Washington, D.C., she says she received a letter denying her request to interview the president, though she has since been told the interview request is still pending.

"In the course of the past three decades, American journalists ... have been able to interview exclusively many of the top political figures of the Islamic Republic," Alinejad said. "Why can't Iranian correspondents walk into the White House and interview the American president?"

Alinejad knows she may never get her interview and that her mere attempt might mean time in prison when she returns to Iran.

But she says, "President Obama is worth taking that risk."