Friday, October 30, 2015

The New Yorker

An American Hostage in Iran--Again
Next Wednesday, November 4th, is the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, which led to a mass hostage crisis that dragged on for four hundred and forty-four days. Thirty-six years later, the Iranians are still at it. For more than two weeks, U.S. media, including The New Yorker, have been withholding information—at the request of the family—about yet another American seized in Tehran. The embargo was broken late Thursday with published reports that Iranian security had detained Siamak Namazi, an American businessman of Iranian descent who was once tapped as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Namazi was taken to Tehran’s Evin Prison in mid-October, according to friends and colleagues. He is a business strategist, normally based in Dubai, and was visiting his family. His mother’s home was ransacked; his confiscated computer has since been used by an intelligence wing of the Revolutionary Guard to launch cyber-attacks against his contacts. I was among those hacked. So was the State Department. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The New Yorker

Iran's Generals Are Dying in Syria 
 My new piece about the rising costs of Iran's military intervention. At least seven brigadier generals and one major general have died fighting in Syria. Just where and how they died tells a lot about the scope of Tehran's engagement on three distant fronts -- and against even more enemies. Two generals were killed in October alone. So was a senior bodyguard of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At least four hundred more--including other senior officers--have died in a campaign to back the government in Damascus. Read on!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The New Yorker

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif 
on Russia and Peace in Syria
My interview in The New Yorker: 
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, is in demand these days. On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, he shook hands with President Obama and met twice with Secretary of State Kerry. (Zarif and Kerry have been nominated, jointly, for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be announced this week, for their two-year negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal.) He hosted both Republican and Democratic officials from previous U.S. Administrations, breakfasted with editors, huddled with American nuclear experts, and briefed the Times editorial board. He also squeezed in a session with the University of Denver, his alma mater. The event was streamed live from the Waldorf-Astoria, because Iranian diplomats are not allowed to travel beyond a twenty-five-mile zone around New York.
The day before Zarif returned to Tehran, I spoke with him -- about what's next with the US, the Russian intervention in Syria, and his own peace plan -- at the residence of Iran’s U.N. ambassador, on Fifth Avenue, near the Metropolitan Museum. Read on...