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Through the looking glass

Through the looking glass

The first in a series of new books by former detainees lifts the veil on the secretive and often bizarre world of the Iranian Intelligence Services.

February 21, 2010 4:53 by

Yet even following her release, Esfandiari was still not immune to Iran’s surreal touch. Months after finally being released from prison, she received an invite to a dinner of expat Iranians in New York to mark President Ahmadinejad’s visit.

“The irony was overwhelming. The very government that a year earlier had branded me a spy, an agent of Mossad and the CIA, an enabler of soft revolution, and a threat to national security was inviting me to appear in the same room with the Iranian president and perhaps engage with him in idle chatter as he circulated among his guests,” Esfandiari writes.

But that is Iran for you. After three weeks in prison, my interrogators asked how I felt about what should have been “a 48-hour affair stretching to three weeks due to events in the country,” I said that, after three years of living there, I had learned to suspend normal expectations upon entering Iran. “I know I am entering the very special Iranian time zone,” I smirked.

They were not pleased with my answer. But for me, Esfandiari, Saberi, and others, we weren’t exactly pleased with our jailers either.

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1 Comment

  1. Dave Kimble on February 22, 2010 2:53 am

    On page 150 of her book Esfandiari describes the way the Iranian security service saw her. “There was a simple, even compelling, but ultimately mad logic to Hajj Agha’s theory … a “logical” conclusion that, examined dispassionately, was simply wrong, divorced from reality.”

    I have researched the facts available on the internet in much the same way as the Iranian security service must have done, and I agree the facts are compelling that she is a CIA agent. See the facts laid out at, including a link to the confession video.

    But where is the “logical” refutation to go with the statement that they were “simply wrong” ? She doesn’t give one ! Out of a 230-page book, there is no logical refutation of the compelling argument that she is a CIA agent, someone who uses the cover of being an academic to go back and forth to Iran, while working for a US Government financed think tank, quite possibly handing out passwords to secure internet connections, so that Iranian dissidents can feed subversive information back to Washington.

    For all her protestations of innocence, there is nothing to prove it. For all her assertions of Iranian paranoia, and “mad logic”, she makes no logical argument at all as to why they are wrong. I can only assume, then, that she is what the Iranians say she is. Having been exposed, she is no longer of any use as an agent, (no one in Iran would dare be found plotting with her) so they let her go.


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