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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 Iason Athanasiadis
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.