And that is how she kept up her morale. She requested the prison guards to wake her up at 6:30, (or was it 5:30?) and did Pilates for an hour, before they came and blindfolded her and led her for interrogations. After interrogations, she did pilates for the rest of the day. She got this extraordinary discipline from not Madonna or Gwyneth Paltrow, but in fact from her mother (who else?). She also loves Persian literature. Her experience in prison taught her to feel lucky she lived in a free country (America, of course, where else?). Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were two of the names which were dropped when discussing the people who were somehow involved in obtaining her release and putting her on a plane out of her maternal country, and back to the civilized world. The thugs who had arrested her were evil, by the way.

Well. How to articulate my fury and disgust at the interview of Iranian-Austrian woman Haleh Esfandiari? She was held for a while in E^&*%n prison in Tehran a couple of years back. She has a book coming out describing her ordeal. She should remember to pay the commission. 

So, Khanoum-e Doktor Esfandiari, how were you released again? Why did they want to save you? And what about all those prisoners left behind, who do not have the good fortune to hold an American passport or direct a Centre for the Middle East in Washington with some crummy name? Whose bodies, by all accounts, are not left in any shape or form to practise Pilates? You never even mentioned them in the interview- How DARE you, you self-centred, cheap, ridiculous woman talk of doing Pilates in a prison where people who do not have an American passport and who do not have Hillary Clinton on their cases  are tortured? are raped? How dare you claim homage as a former prisoner?

I’m glad you weren’t tortured, Madam, and that you were able to return to the country where you feel so fortunate to live. But Khanoom jan, believe me, you chose the worst time possible to release a book about your stupid experiences in prison and your love of Persian literature. Why didn’t you release the book after your return to America- before all this happened? is happening? will continue to happen? Did you feel this was a better moment to cash in on your pilates performance in Tehran?

And listen, why didn’t you address the charges in the interview? You know, I’m not really interested in how many hours of Pilates you did. I don’t give a handful of stinky mud that your mother instilled a love of Persian art in you. But I am interested to know whether any of the charges were actually TRUE or not? Have American funds never been used to meddle in the internal affairs of a country before? Are there really no American spies in Iran? Why is the idea that you are basically a spy so ridiculous that we are supposed to fall down clutching our stomachs with laughter at the very thought? Has the history of our country been free from the tragic and evil interference of Britain and America?

Excuse me, but have you noticed how Americans act towards people whom they suspect of  disrupting their system? Not exactly overflowing with milk of human kindness, are they? Have you noticed that? Don’t you find your gratitude to the Americans a bit…embarassing? Don’t you find your labelling of the Iranians a bit…naive? You are a Doktor after all. You should be able to see beyond the mindless facile media constructions fed to the masses.

But no, I forgot, you are addressing ordinary people now, aren’t you? You are part of the facile media constructions now, aren’t you?

Good luck to you, Khanoum-e Doktor. And keep up with the Pilates. You might want to set up a Pilates studio one day- you might have better success at that than doing “research” on Middle East.



  1. Raftari

    I don’t understand this rant- what has this poor woman done to you? Why do you hate her so much? What are you trying to say- surely you must be angrier with the people who put her and others in jail?

  2. thenewcomer

    Don’t underestimate my huge reserves of hate and anger- i can hate all sorts of things. Just because i hate that interview doesn’t mean i can’t hate other things as well!

    As for this person and her interview, here are the reasons:
    -I hate the timing of her book- it is published at the same time when there the prisons in tehran are making news, not when she was released from prison two or three years ago.
    – I hate the way that from the interview, she trivializes the experience of being in prison.
    -I hate the fact that she makes no mention about the charges made against her- the way she just assumes they were false and we should obviously agree with that assumption.
    -I hate the fact that she was an american citizen and had influential american friends as a get-out-of-free jail card, whereas so many others remain in prison, lacking these advantages. At the very least, she should have had the tact and “sho-oor” not to publicize this.

    I don’t know the lady personally, so i can’t say whether I would actually hate her as a person or not. Somehow though, I think the chances are very high that I would.

  3. I have tried to gather information on Haleh Esfandiari to answer your question of her guilt as charged. Please see “Is Haleh Esfandiari a CIA asset ?” [ ] You are quite right, she DENIES the allegations but she never presents her case why the allegations are not true.

    The special fund for bringing about regime change in Iran by non-military and non-economic means was started in 2004 and has increased each year since. Esfandiari had a meeting with Obama in the Ronald Reagan Building where she works in the week before he took office. [ ] One of the first things he did in office was to increase the “Democracy Fund” to $100 million. In his inaugural address he continued the Bush lies about Iran’s nuclear program, and before making his Nowruz speech, he reimposed Bush’s economic sanctions, and now threatens imposing even more.

    If Esfandiari really had a problem with the US Government’s policy, she certainly doesn’t ever let on about it. Instead she and her protege, Robin Wright, take every opportunity to run down the Iranian regime and support Moussavi, who was the lynchpin at the Iranian end of the Iran-Contra scandal, and therefore a man completely without principles and a friend of the CIA.

  4. teng

    I hear you, but,
    look at the governments behavior: they have arrested so many of the opposition and also ordinary people without any charge, and after keeping them in a “grave-size-like” cells for months (!), they are putting on a show with childish accusations. With this behavior and attitude nobody will believe their spying accusations.

  5. thenewcomer

    Of course, and noone should. Meanwhile, the real spies are getting out of jail free after high power Americans intervene for them, and writing books about Pilates in prison. One of the reasons which annoyed me about this woman is that her imprisonment took place at least two years before the current unrests in Iran- and yet she has chosen to cash in now.

  6. teng

    some people always cash in on others misery…
    like the phone card companies in Iran; I cant believe them, the bastards have raised their price to 8 times with no excuse!

  7. The text was fun n I liked it, was destructive. But I dono that person so I can’t judge. Based on what u wrote she seems like a real bitch. I guess in this world, bitches r more successful than the non-bitches.

  8. Aliz

    With all due respect I believe this post suffers from what I call the been-outside-Iran-too-long effect in that it has to do more with American stuff than Iranian stuff.
    If you had watched Esfandiari, Tajbakhsh and Jahanbegloo confessing on prime time Iranian TV and the pathetic show Iran made of it and of the “colored revolution” ploys they were accused of you would not be writing this. The irony is that these days hundreds are being accused of plotting the same revolution, only this time it is called “soft” (Tajbakhsh is one of the defendants).
    Hossein Derakhshan made a strong case against Esfandiari back in the day,
    He also ended up in Evin.

    What the hell is pilates anyway?

  9. thenewcomer

    Pilates is a fancy form of exercise, like aerobics/yoga, practiced by usually well-off women to keep fit (i.e. thin).

    I don’t doubt I suffer from being away from Iran too-long. You know I actually was in Iran at the time of her trials- and I never followed them- It didn’t interest me at all! I’ve only developed an interest in “current affairs” recently… When I was in Iran though, I got angry with expat writers- for example Azar majedi or Azar Nafisi- writing about the situation of women in Iran and hijab- I thoght they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. Now I’m in the same boat.

    Anyway, my main point is not that whether she really was a spy or not, or whether the Iranian authorities were right to arrest her in the manner they did (I hope the answer to the last is obvious)- my point is her actions NOW- I just found her statements in that interview I read to be ridiculous, off-point, condescedning etc. and that is what upset me.

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