Utne Blogs > Politics

Arrested in Iran: Redux

 by Michael Rowe

Tags: Politics, Virginia Quarterly Review, New York Times, New Yorker, Iran, Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour, Fatemeh Shams, arrest,


The news from Iran these days is as fit to print as ever, but surprisingly under-reported. Although the massive election protests last summer received top-tier coverage in venues like the New York Times and New Yorker, the news cycle has been a little blinder in the months since. One current story we can’t ignore comes to us from Virginia Quarterly Review:

Oxford PhD student Mohammad Reza Jalaeipour, who campaigned for opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi in 2009, was arrested on Monday afternoon, June 14, according to his wife, Fatemeh Shams.

Jalaeipour was first arrested on June 17, 2009. After attending a family wedding in Iran, Jalaeipour was prevented from boarding a flight to Dubai. He and his wife had been returning to the UK to continue their studies. The couple were members of the Third Wave campaign, a reformist youth movement that eventually backed Moussavi in the Iranian presidential election last year. Jalaeipour told the Wall Street Journal that, inspired by the Obama campaign, he had created pages on Facebook to reach young Iranian voters. After his 2009 arrest, Jalaeipour endured eighty days of imprisonment including more than fifty days in solitary confinement at the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. After his release, Jalaeipour remained in Iran with his parents, as his passport had been confiscated. His wife currently lives in the UK where she also attends Oxford.

This turn of events resurrects the desperation of Jalaeipour’s previous imprisonment, which VQR will document in their Summer issue by publishing letters Jalaeipour’s wife, Fatemeh, wrote him while he was in custody. VQR is getting the word out, but it’d be nice if Iran could stay in the crosshairs of our depleted attention spans.

Source: The New York Times, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review

Image by Beverly & Pack, licensed under Creative Commons.