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Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison

Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison

A Book Talk with Jason Rezaian, journalist at the Washington Post

Thursday, May 16, 2019
12:00 PM
Bunche Hall, Room 6275
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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“Jason paid a deep price in defense of journalism and his story proves that not everyone who defends freedom carries a gun, some carry a pen.” —John F. Kerry, 68th Secretary of State

PODCAST

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In July 2014, Washington Post Tehran bureau chief Jason Rezaian was arrested by Iranian police, accused of spying for America. The charges were absurd. Rezaian’s reporting was a mix of human interest stories and political analysis. He had even served as a guide for Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. Initially, Rezaian thought the whole thing was a terrible misunderstanding, but soon realized that it was much more dire as it became an eighteen-month prison stint with impossibly high diplomatic stakes.

While in prison, Rezaian had tireless advocates working on his behalf. His brother lobbied political heavyweights including John Kerry and Barack Obama and started a social media campaign—#FreeJason—while Jason’s wife navigated the red tape of the Iranian security apparatus, all while the courts used Rezaian as a bargaining chip in negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.

In Prisoner, Rezaian writes of his exhausting interrogations and farcical trial. He also reflects on his idyllic childhood in Northern California and his bond with his Iranian father, a rug merchant; how his teacher Christopher Hitchens inspired him to pursue journalism; and his life-changing decision to move to Tehran, where his career took off and he met his wife. Written with wit, humor, and grace, Prisoner brings to life a fascinating, maddening culture in all its complexity.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jason Rezaian is one of the few Western journalists to have been based in Tehran in recent years. From 2009 until his arrest in 2014 he covered stories that tried to explain Iran to a general American audience, first as a freelancer for a variety of outlets and later as The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief.

He reported on two presidential elections, Iran’s nuclear negotiations with global powers, the effects of one of the most punitive sanctions regimes in modern times and environmental issues.

In between those momentous topics he told the stories of everyday Iranians which sought to make them more accessible to readers, reporting on topics such as Iran’s small community of baseball players, the quest for the best high-end hamburger in Tehran, and a clinic for female drug addicts.

In July of 2014, Rezaian and his wife were detained in their home and he went on to spend 545 days in Tehran’s Evin prison, released on the same day that the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was implemented.

 

EVENT PARKING:

The closest parking is located in Parking Structure 3. For Pay-by-Plate Parking, park and then use a Pay Station to purchase parking. For a map and directions, click here.


Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations